Objectives: This study was designed to assess the effects on macrocirculation and microcirculation of adding an intra-aortic balloon pump to peripheral venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in patients with severe cardiogenic shock and little/no residual left ventricular ejection.
Design: A prospective, single-center, observational study where macrocirculation and microcirculation were assessed with clinical-, Doppler echocardiography-, and pulmonary artery-derived hemodynamic variables and also cerebral and thenar eminence tissue oxygenation and side-stream dark-field imaging of sublingual microcirculation.
Setting: A 26-bed tertiary ICU in a university hospital.
Patients: We evaluated 12 consecutive patients before and 30 minutes after interrupting and restarting intra-aortic balloon pump.
Interventions: Measurements were performed before, and 30 minutes after interrupting and restarting intra-aortic balloon pump.
Measurements and main results: Stopping intra-aortic balloon pump was associated with higher pulmonary artery-occlusion pressure (19 ± 10 vs 15 ± 8 mm Hg, p = 0.01), increased left ventricular end-systolic (51 ± 13 vs 50 ± 14 mm, p = 0.05) and end-diastolic (55 ± 13 vs 52 ± 14 mm, p = 0.003) dimensions, and decreased pulse pressure (15 ± 13 vs 29 ± 22 mm Hg, p = 0.02). Maximum pulmonary artery-occlusion pressure reduction when the intra-aortic balloon pump was restarted was observed in the seven patients whose pulmonary artery-occlusion pressure was more than 15 mm Hg when intra-aortic balloon pump was off (-6.6 ± 4.3 vs -0.6 ± 3.4 mm Hg, respectively). Thenar eminence and brain tissue oxygenation and side-stream dark-field-assessed sublingual microcirculation were unchanged by stopping and restarting intra-aortic balloon pump.
Conclusions: Restoring pulsatility and decreasing left ventricular afterload with intra-aortic balloon pump was associated with smaller left ventricular dimensions and lower pulmonary artery pressures but did not affect microcirculation variables in cardiogenic shock patients with little/no residual left ventricular ejection while on peripheral venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.