Between January 1, 1986, and May 6, 1991, 7,884 cardiac surgical procedures requiring cardiopulmonary bypass were performed at our institution, including 672 (9.8% of adult procedures) performed in 669 patients that were associated with preoperative (n = 240), intraoperative (n = 353), or postoperative (n = 79) use of an intraaortic balloon pump. The mean age of recipients was 65.3 years (range, 16 to 89 years). Intraaortic balloon pump usage increased during the study period from 6.4% of patients ( 83 1,298) in 1986 to 12.7% of patients ( 169 1,333) in 1990. The relative distribution between preoperative (mean, 35.7%), intraoperative (52.5%), and postoperative (11.8%) insertion remained nearly constant during the study period. The overall operative (30-day) mortality for patients with preoperative, intraoperative, or postoperative insertion of the intraaortic balloon pump was 19.6%, 32.3%, and 40.5%, respectively (χ2 = 16.4; p < 0.001). Although use of the intraaortic balloon pump in the intraoperative and postoperative settings is accompanied by a favorable outcome in most patients, the high associated mortality suggests the need for earlier use of the intraaortic balloon pump or other supportive measures such as the ventricular assist device.