Arterial diastolic pressure augmentation by intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation enhances the onset of coronary artery reperfusion by thrombolytic therapy

Paul A. Gurbel, R. David Anderson, Christopher S. MacCord, Helen Scott, Steven F. Komjathy, Jay Poulton, J. Lawrence Stafford, Joel Godard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The early establishment of infarct artery reperfusion by intravenous thrombolytic therapy has improved survival after acute myocardial infarction. Investigations of reperfusion have focused on the effects of specific thrombolytic agents, anticoagulation, and platelet inhibition. However, little attention has been given to the relation of arterial blood pressure to thrombolysis, a factor that probably affects thrombolytic agent delivery to the obstructing thrombus. Methods and Results: The effect of arterial diastolic pressure augmentation by intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IABP) on reperfusion after intravenous thrombolytic therapy was studied in a canine model. A critical left anterior descending coronary artery stenosis was created by an occluder. Acute thrombosis immediately proximal to the occluder was formed by local injection of a blood and thrombin mixture into a segment of the artery that had intimal damage (groups 1 through 3). Continuous coronary blood flow velocity was measured by an epicardial Doppler probe. Group 1 (n=7) served as control. Group 2 (n=6) received an intravenous, front-loaded recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rTPA) regimen (1.25 mg/kg total dose, 15% as bolus, 50% in the first 30 minutes, and 35% for the following 60 minutes). Group 3 (n=6) received the same rTPA regimen with IABP beginning at the start of rTPA administration. Coronary blood flow velocity, arterial pressure, and heart rate were observed for 150 minutes after the start of thrombolytic therapy. Five animals did not undergo coronary thrombosis (group 4) and had coronary blood flow velocity determined before and after IABP at baseline and after creation of critical stenosis. Mean systolic arterial blood pressure and heart rate were not statistically different between groups. Peak augmented diastolic pressure by IABP was 97.9±1.3% of systolic pressure in group 3 dogs. Spontaneous reperfusion did not occur in any group 1 dogs. All animals treated with rTPA reperfused. Reperfusion occurred in group 3 (13.1±2.1 minutes) earlier than in group 2 (39.2±9.4 minutes, P=.02). Overall duration of arterial patency did not differ between group 2 (81.4±16.6 minutes) and group 3 (94.9±15.3 minutes, P=.52). Reocclusions occurred with similar frequency (P=.85) in groups 2 and 3. In group 4, IABP did not increase baseline coronary blood flow velocity. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that augmentation of diastolic arterial pressure by IABP enhances thrombolysis, leading to faster reperfusion. This effect appears to be unrelated to an increase in coronary blood flow and may be due to an effect of the augmented diastolic blood pressure wave on the obstructing thrombus. These findings suggest that the time to reperfusion by rTPA may be blood pressure dependent. The relation of arterial blood pressure to successful thrombolysis may have important implications for future treatment strategies for myocardial infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-365
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • blood pressure
  • circulation
  • plasminogen activators
  • thrombolysis
  • thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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