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Perfusion balloons fail to feed the heart

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

Cardiologists are faced with a dilemma when they perform balloon angioplasty. The best result is obtained by keeping the balloon inflated for as long as possible to maximise compression of plaque against the vessel wall. However, the balloon blocks the flow of blood to the heart muscle and can cause a heart attack. Autoperfusion balloons use pressure in the aorta to drive blood past the balloon and restore up to 75% of the normal flow in experiments, but researchers from Germany say the real-life situation is not nearly as good.

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