Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Simulating Thoracic Aortic Dissection

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Abstract

We present a 70-year-old woman who had an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) in its deflated state in the aorta during a computed tomography angiogram scan. The scan was performed to assess for aortic dissection. The deflated IABP created a curvilinear filling defect in the aortic lumen that suggested an intimal flap. Herein, we described the finding and suggest key features that can help distinguish between this intra-aortic device and a true dissection. This distinction between the device and aortic dissection is not only important because of the potential pitfall of a false positive diagnosis but also because an IABP itself can lead to an aortic dissection and therefore its computed tomography features should be recognized in both its inflated and deflated state.

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