Intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation timing: a new numerical model for programming and training in the clinical environment

Claudio De Lazzari, Beatrice De Lazzari, Attilio Iacovoni, Silvia Marconi, Silvia Papa, Massimo Capoccia, Roberto Badagliacca, Carmine Dario Vizza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and Objective: The intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is the most widely available device for short-term mechanical circulatory support, often used to wean offcardiopulmonary bypass or combined with extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation support or as a bridge to a left ventricular assist device. Although based on a relatively simple principle, its complex interaction with the cardiovascular system remains challenging and open to debate. The aim of this work was focused on the development of a new numerical model of IABP. Methods: The new model was implemented in CARDIOSIM©, which is a modular software simulator of the cardiovascular system used in research and e-learning environment. The IABP is inserted into the systemic bed divided in aortic, thoracic and two abdominal tracts modelled with resistances, inertances and compliances. The effect induced by the balloon is reproduced in each tract of the aorta by the pres- ence of compliances connected to P IABP generator and resistances. P IABP generator reproduces the balloon pressure with the option to change IABP timing. We have used literature data to validate the potential of this new numerical model. Results: The results have shown that our simulations reproduced the typical effects induced during IABP assistance. We have also simulated the effects induced by the device on the hemodynamic variables when the IABP ratio was set to 1:1, 1:2, 1:4 and 1:8. The outcome of these simulations is in accordance with literature data measured in the clinical environment. Conclusions: The new IABP module is easy to manage and can be used as a training tool in a clinical setting. Although based on literature data, the outcome of the simulations is encouraging. Additional work is ongoing with a view to further validate its features. The configuration of CARDIOSIM©presented in this work allows the simulation of the effects induced by mechanical ventilatory assistance. This facility may have significant importance in the management of patients affected by COVID-19 when they require mechanical circulatory support devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105537
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Early online date15 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020


  • heart failure
  • pressure volume loop
  • software simulation


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