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An Intraaortic Balloon Pump(or IABP) is a device that contains a small balloon that is inflated inside the aorta (the large artery that receives blood from the heart’s left ventricle and distributes it to the body) when the heart muscle relaxes. This increases pressure inside the heart chambers and blood flow to the coronary arteries that nourish the heart muscle. Then the balloon is deflated just before the heart muscle pumps, creating a vacuum effect that aids blood flow from the heart. This process is called “counterpulsation” and improves blood flow to the heart muscle and reduces its workload. ABP is used to treat heart attack patients, high-risk patients who must undergo angiography and patients who are waiting for a heart transplant.
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