The Impella® Program – Field report from Dresden

The Impella heart pump is already used at many university hospitals in Germany. In the video, Dr. Karim Ibrahim, Senior Physician at the Heart Center of the Dresden University Hospital, talks about his experience with the heart pump.

Protected PCI with Impella Heart Pumps – A Strong Trend

Since the start of the Impella Program and the introduction of the new Impella CP® heart pump more than two years ago, the Dresden University Hospital has had pleasant experience with the Impella system. "So far, more than 80 patients have been treated with the Impella catheter," says Dr Ibrahim.


  • Many patients are treated with the Impella heart pump due to a cardiogenic shock.
  • Some high-risk patients with existing comorbidities were subjected to an Impella “supported” PCI – which is referred to as a Protected PCI.

Impella heart pump during cardiogenic shock

Using the Impella heart pump in a patient with cardiogenic shock has positive haemodynamic effects which stabilize the patient. The Impella system can be used within 7-8 minutes. Thus, patients who have been admitted to the hospital with a cardiogenic shock or are hemodynamically unstable can be stabilized within a very short time.

Trend towards Protected PCI

The trend towards Protected PCI has continuously increased in recent years. Thus today, the Dresden University Hospital increasingly receives medical referrals from other clinics, who know about Protected PCI and would like to enable a safe intervention for their high-risk patients. These referrals are often quite difficult cases with a highly-restricted heart pumping function or complex coronary morphologies.

"The trend towards Protected PCI is on the rise. We are increasingly often receiving medical referrals for high-risk patients, which can be intervened under safe conditions with the help of the Impella heart pump."

- Dr. Karim Ibrahim

More Time with the Impella Heart Pump

"By using the Impella heart pump, you gain time," explains Dr. Ibrahim, "because the Impella stabilizes the patient during the intervention." If unexpected complications occur during the procedure, the attending physician does not have to worry about the patient becoming unstable, there is enough time to fix the problem.

Tips for Introducing the Impella Program to a Clinic

In order to use the Impella system quickly and safely, Dr. Ibrahim recommends starting with elective cases first. The Protected PCI procedure can be planned in advance and it is possible to get support from experienced colleagues. If the first cases have been performed under stable conditions and the team is familiar with the Impella system, the Impella heart pump can be used in an emergency situation such as the cardiogenic shock without any problem. "An additional tip when starting the Impella Program is to perform these procedures on a regular basis," Dr. Ibrahim advises.

In addition to the training of the medical personnel, other employees (for example the nursing staff) also need training in handling Protected PCI patients.


Karim Ibrahim, MD
Head Senior Physician
Heart Center Dresden University Hospital

Dr Ibrahim graduated from Technical University Munich in 2002. Afterwards he started his residency at the institute of experimental cardiology at the Technical University Dresden. Since 2003 he is part of the faculty at the Heart Center Dresden University Hospital. Currently, he holds the position of a Head Senior Physician and Deputy Chief Physician at the Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology and is in charge of interventional cardiology and the intensive care unit. He is an expert in interventional techniques and specialized in the TAVI program. In addition, he conducts extensive research in the field of acute coronary syndrome and cardiogenic shock as well as platelet function and inhibition. He is skilled in planning, development and execution of high impact research and an experienced supervisor in this field. Currently he is supervising different research projects and presented his research works in several national and international conferences. He is also actively committed to teaching, lecturing and consulting in the Medical Faculty of the Technical University Dresden. 

Dr. Karim Ibrahim