A chronic total occlusion (CTO) occurs when a coronary artery (a vessel supplying blood to your heart) is completely blocked by heavy plaque build-up for more than three months. Symptoms of a CTO include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- General fatigue
Traditionally, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), a type of open heart surgery, or medical therapy were the recommended treatment options for a CTO. However, interventional cardiologists at the Englewood Health Physician Network now offer a minimally invasive treatment, through percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or placing stents, for patients with a diagnosed CTO. This new technology gives options to patients:
- Who are not candidates for cardiac surgery because of health issues, poor heart muscle function, or previous cardiac surgery
- Who want an alternative to open heart surgery
The Englewood Health Physician Network’s CTO program is now in its third year, and has achieved 90% success rates. New technology allows our physicians to treat even more complex cases than ever before.
How is CTO PCI performed?
CTO PCI is performed in the cardiac catheterization lab, much like other minimally invasive procedures in which a catheter is place into an artery in the leg or arm and advanced to the heart. New technology allows the physician to go directly through the blockage, or enter it by way of other “collateral” vessels in the heart that develop to help with blood flow around the blockage. The artery is then opened with balloon angioplasty and stent placement.