The ischemic heart failure constitutes one of the commonest reasons of death nowadays, mainly in the western hemisphere. According to scientific predictions the number of deaths will be aggravated in the foreseeable and distant future. Its management is a separate field of cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery which includes medication, cardiothoracic surgeries and the insertion and use of devices that assist the heart function, culminating in the implantation of an artificial heart and transplantation. Among the mechanical means available for the support of the insufficient cardiac function, the first aid is provided by the Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP). The IABP constitutes a practical, efficient and low-cost device which is widely used in coronary and cardiothoracic care units all over the world. It provides significant facilitation of the left ventricle that is failing due to ischemia or myocardial infarction. It is inserted intravascularly and it has absolute indications and contraindications. There are various complications that can occur, however its contribution to the assistance of the left ventricle outweighs any problem that might be caused. The aim of the present paper is to present, with the help of historic and literature data, the basic principles of use and function of the IABP and its possible side effects.
Key Words: Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump, Ischemic Heart Failure, Ischaemia