The authors describe the indications for using IABC, potential risk factors and complications, the nursing care required, and education of patients and their families about IABC.

Intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IABC) was introduced into clinical settings in 1967 for the treatment of cardiogenic shock.11 IABC is now used for more than 100 000 patients each year in the United States.22 In the past 3 decades, IABC has assumed a prominent role in the treatment of patients with a failing heart; the intra-aortic balloon catheter is the most widely used left ventricular assist device.33 

Patients receiving IABC require the same intense and expert nursing care required by all critically ill patients. In addition, specialized management is required to reduce the risk of complications and to minimize the morbidity associated with IABC. These acutely ill patients...

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