Q I continue to receive questions from staff regarding accurate blood pressure readings when the patient has an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP). For example, a patient has an IABP in place, a femoral arterial catheter, and a blood pressure cuff on the right arm. I have always been told we should go by the pressure readings on the IABP, because other means of measuring blood pressure will be inaccurate. Which blood pressure is accurate?

A Sara Knippa, MS, RN, CNS, CCRN, PCCN, ACCNS-AG, replies:

Intra-aortic balloon pump therapy is widely used for patients with left ventricular dysfunction, despite recent controversy regarding its benefit. In 2013, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association downgraded the strength of the recommendation for IABP use in cardiogenic shock after acute myocardial infarction, citing conflicting data on its usefulness. At approximately the same time, a large randomized controlled trial (IABP in Cardiogenic...

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