This is a large left ventricular assist
device, a bedside one.
These devices actually can be quite small and
can actually be
basically in the chest with a pack that you
carry at your waist
and you can go home with them.
But that's not a common situation.
The intra-aortic balloon pump as an example
of a cardiac assistive device.
It has a balloon that is placed into the
proximal aorta, which inflates during
When the heart is relaxed, the balloon and
left ventricular assist device inflates.
Disinflation creates increased perfusion
pressure in the coronary arteries due to a
higher back pressure in the proximal aorta,
effectively increasing myocardial blood flow.
The balloon then deflates during systole,
reducing the active load on the heart and
allowing it to pump blood forward.
This kind of device is often used to
stabilize patients prior to cardiac
surgery, and it can actually be used, as I
mentioned earlier, as a bridge
to heart transplant.
And the smaller devices that can be
implanted are used temporary as
And people can use them for up to several
before they start to have problems with them.
And this is a diagram of how this device
You can see that the balloon, which is the
gray device in
the aorta, comes all the way up almost to
the heart, just to where the
left subclavian artery comes off.
And it inflates during diastole, increasing
the pressure in the blood
close to the heart, forcing it into the
coronary arteries and improving myocardial
oxygenation. And then during cardiac
systole, it deflates so that the pressure
against which the heart is working is
markedly reduced and the
oxygen demands of the heart are reduced.
And sometimes this can result in complete
recovery of the heart.
The ECG is modified and you have to learn
how to utilize this
device and you have to learn how to set the
device to inflate and
deflate at the right times.
If you're off by even just half a second or
so, you can cause a lot of problems.
So it takes highly skilled people to use