An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a therapeutic device to help your heart pump more blood. The device consists of a thin, flexible tube (a catheter) with a long balloon at its tip (intra-aortic balloon, or IAB). At the other end, the catheter attaches to a computer console. This console has a mechanism for inflating and deflating the balloon at the proper time during your cardiac (heart) cycle.
An IABP allows blood to flow more easily into your coronary arteries to help give oxygen to the heart muscle. It also allows your heart to pump more blood with each contraction.
This may be used to allow the heart to rest and recover after a heart attack or prior to and during open heart surgery.