• Percutaneous intra-aortic balloon pump use may carry an increased risk for patients with peripheral vascular disease. To determine the incidence and types of associated complications, the medical records of 144 patients who underwent a total of 153 percutaneous intra-aortic balloon pump insertions were reviewed. Patients were divided into two groups. Group 1 was composed of 20 patients with a history of peripheral vascular disease. Group 2 was composed of 124 patients without such history; they underwent a total of 133 insertions. Nineteen major complications (12%) occurred, 12 in group 1 (60% of 20 insertions) and seven in group 2(5% of 133 insertions). Major complications were further classified by their nature: embolic, occlusive, and technical. All three types of complications occurred more frequently in group 1. Embolic complications occurred more frequently in patients with aneurysms and proved the most lethal, with two of six deaths in group 1 resulting from this complication.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:621-623)