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Access from the femoral arteries to the thoracic aorta for intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) insertion may not be feasible in a substantial number of patients with severe peripheral vascular disease. Since using an alternative access is inevitable in a certain number of patients requiring IABP support, all alternative accesses should be added to the surgical armamentarium. Herein, we present our 27-year experience with different alternative accesses for IABP insertion following failed contraindication to femoral artery cannulation. The alternative techniques described below were: transthoracic insertion with a tube graft, transthoracic insertion - direct, transaxillary/subclavian insertion and transbrachial insertion.