Heart Failure Reviews

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 323–335 | Cite as

Evidence of clinical efficacy of counterpulsation therapy methods

  • M. Capoccia
  • C. T. Bowles
  • J. R. Pepper
  • N. R. Banner
  • A. R. Simon


Although heart transplantation remains the ultimate treatment for end-stage heart failure, its epidemiological impact is limited by donor organ availability. Surgical and device-based approaches have been introduced with the aim of increasing systemic perfusion and in some circumstances promoting left ventricular recovery by inducing reverse remodelling. Innovative counterpulsation devices based on the established principle of the intra-aortic balloon pump have been developed, and of these, the CardioVad and the C-Pulse System have been introduced in clinical practice with convincing evidence of haemodynamic efficacy. The evolution from pulsatile to continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices has been associated with improved survival rates during the first 2 years of support with the potential of matching heart transplantation outcomes. However, blood contact with the device remains a significant challenge despite the highly sophisticated technology currently available. Innovative extra-vascular counterpulsation devices have been shown to overcome the limitations of the intra-aortic balloon pump and rend the device suitable for prolonged support. Monitoring of the performance of these novel devices is essential, and carotid Doppler ultrasonography is of utility in assessing the haemodynamic performance of the devices in a clinical setting. Computational modelling has played a role in the simulation of these devices and should continue to assist with their optimisation and implementation in clinical practice.


Heart failure IABP LVAD Counterpulsation 


Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interests or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Capoccia
    • 1
  • C. T. Bowles
    • 2
  • J. R. Pepper
    • 3
  • N. R. Banner
    • 4
  • A. R. Simon
    • 5
  1. 1.Cardiothoracic SurgeryRoyal Stoke University HospitalStoke-on-TrentUK
  2. 2.VAD TeamHarefield HospitalLondonUK
  3. 3.Cardiothoracic SurgeryRoyal Brompton HospitalLondonUK
  4. 4.Heart Failure CardiologyHarefield HospitalLondonUK
  5. 5.Cardiothoracic and Transplant SurgeryHarefield HospitalLondonUK

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