Chronic total occlusion (CTO) is a blockage in the coronary artery, which has been present for more than three months. A complication of coronary artery disease, CTOs result from severe build-up of fatty deposits or plaque within the coronary arteries and are one of the most challenging lesions to treat.
Symptoms of chronic total occlusion may include:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Upper body pain
- Irregular heart beat
While traditional treatment has entailed coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), open-heart surgery, a less invasive procedure known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is proving effective in patients not considered good candidates for traditional surgical repair.
Multiple studies show that success in opening CTOs is largely dependent on the experience of the operator among other factors. In experienced hands, the success rate can be over 90 percent [1,2].