Objective The aim of this work was to characterize the clinical response and identify predictors of clinical stabilization after intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IABP) support in patients with chronic systolic heart failure in cardiogenic shock before implantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Background Limited data exist regarding the clinical response to IABP in patients with chronic heart failure in cardiogenic shock. Methods We identified 54 patients supported with IABP before LVAD implantation. Criteria for clinical decompensation after IABP insertion and before LVAD included the need for more advanced temporary support, initiation of mechanical ventilation or dialysis, increase in vasopressors/inotropes, refractory ventricular arrhythmias, or worsening acidosis. The absence of these indicated stabilization. Results Clinical decompensation after IABP occurred in 23 patients (43%). Both patients who decompensated and those who stabilized had similar hemodynamic improvements after IABP support, but patients who decompensated required more vasopressors/inotropes. Clinical decompensation after IABP was associated with worse outcomes after LVAD implantation, including a 3-fold longer intensive care unit stay and 5-fold longer time on mechanical ventilation (P <.01 for both). Although baseline characteristics were similar between groups, right and left ventricular cardiac power indexes (cardiac power index = cardiac index × mean arterial pressure/451) identified patients who were likely to stabilize (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.82). Conclusions Among patients with chronic systolic heart failure who develop cardiogenic shock, more than one-half of patients stabilized with IABP support as a bridge to LVAD. Baseline measures of right and left ventricular cardiac power, reflecting work performed for a given flow and pressure, may allow clinicians to identify patients with sufficient contractile reserve who will be likely to stabilize with an IABP versus those who may need more aggressive ventricular support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-876
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiac failure
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • IABP
  • Intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation
  • cardiogenic shock
  • heart failure
  • left ventricular device implantation
  • percutaneous support


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