Treatment Options in Cardiogenic Shock with Intra-Aortic Balloon Counterpulsation

*Markus W. Ferrari

Clinic of Internal Medicine I, HELIOS Dr-Horst-Schmidt-Clinic, Wiesbaden, Germany
*Correspondence to markus.ferrari@helios-kliniken.de

Disclosure: The author has declared no conflicts of interest.
Acknowledgements: Writing assistance was provided by Julia Bates, PhD, of Oxford Science Manuscripts.
Support: Financial support for the article was provided by Getinge.
Received: 04.05.17 Accepted: 02.08.17
Citation: EMJ. 2017;2[3]:54-62.

Abstract

Cardiogenic shock (CS), a state of inadequate tissue perfusion due to cardiac dysfunction, remains the leading cause of death following acute myocardial infarction (AMI). While the prognosis of CS post-AMI has improved in recent decades due to advances in treatment modalities, the mortality rates remain unacceptably high (~40–50% according to recent registries and clinical trials). Current treatment strategies for this condition include early revascularisation to restore blood flow to the ischaemic myocardium, the use of fluids and vasopressor or inotropic agents to reinstate haemodynamic parameters, and initiation of intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IABP) systems and active assist devices to maintain circulation. However, there is little evidence that these treatments actually improve survival rates. Even the most recent randomised trial conducted in this field (the IMPRESS trial comparing intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation to the Impella CP mechanical assist device) again failed to demonstrate any improvement in patient outcomes. The lack of evidence may reflect the relatively few randomised trials conducted in this area, likely due to difficulties in conducting such trials in an emergency setting. Moreover, most recent trials have focussed on patients in the late stages of CS, when they have become refractory to medical treatment and require mechanical circulatory support. This article reviews the available literature concerning the treatment of CS post-AMI in light of these limitations, and provides some evidence-based recommendations for best practice, including an updated treatment protocol.

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