Intraaortic balloon counterpulsation in patients in cardiogenic shock, medically refractory left ventricular failure and/or recurrent ventricular tachycardia

James T. Willerson, George C. Curry, John T. Watson, Stephen J. Leshin, Roger R. Ecker, Charles B. Mullins, Melvin R. Platt, W. L. Sugg

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Of the 27 patients described, 23 were in cardiogenic shock, 2 had severe left ventricular failure, and 2 had medically refractory ventricular tachycardia. Utilizing intraaortic counterpulsation, adequate systemic blood pressure was initially restored in 19 patients. Nine of these were subsequently weaned from circulatory assistance, but only three were discharged from the hospital and are currently alive. The remaining 10 patients who derived initial benefit from circulatory assistance were balloon-dependent in that they could not be weaned from circulatory assistance. Eight of these patients subsequently underwent cardiac catheterization; four had inoperable disease. The remaining four patients underwent surgery for either resection of the area of infarction and/ or for myocardial revascularization; only one survived to subsequently leave the hospital. Ventricular volumes were abnormal and ejection fractions were below 30 per cent in all the patients in cardiogenic shock except one who underwent cardiac catheterization and ultimately died. Ejection fractions were greater than 30 per cent in the two patients with cardiogenic shock who were weaned from balloon support and survived to leave the hospital without surgery. Both of these patients had inferior myocardial infarction. The data obtained from this experience suggest that intraaortic counterpulsation is a very useful adjunct to currently existing medical measures to treat both cardiogenic shock and medically refractory left ventricular failure but that most patients have such extensive disease that they can neither be weaned from balloon support nor undergo successful infarctectomy or myocardial revascularization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalThe American Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1975


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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