Coronary Artery Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO)

What Is CTO?
Your cardiologist has diagnosed that you have a Coronary Artery Chronic Total Occlusion. Coronary artery chronic total occlusion (CTO) is complete or almost complete blockage of a coronary artery for 30 or more days, although most of these arteries have been occluded for considerably longer. CTOs are very common, occurring in 15-20% of patients with significant coronary artery disease. Some patients with CTO don’t know they have this type of coronary artery disease.  Other patients know they have serious coronary artery disease but have been told their only option is treatment with medication or major surgery to reduce symptoms.
Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease impacts an estimated 1.2 million Americans each year. Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries that feed the heart become narrowed or blocked with a build-up of fatty deposits and plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. This build-up restricts blood flow to the heart. Without adequate blood flow, the heart is starved of the oxygen and vital nutrients it needs to function properly.

The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is angina or chest pain. Often, because there is a severe decrease in blood flow, the heart’s remaining coronary arteries detour or reroute blood to the compromised area. Whether or not detour blood vessels form around a CTO, blood flow is still compromised. This results in angina-like symptoms that, over time, can reduce cardiac function and lead to congestive heart failure. Both of these conditions come with their own symptoms that include chest pain as well as shortness of breath and fatigue – all of which can limit a person’s ability to do the things they enjoy.

While CTO treatment is more involved and complex than a typical catheterization, the procedure is still minimally invasive and patients often return home the following day. After the CTO procedure, many patients frequently enjoy a dramatic reduction of symptoms.

CTO@prairieheart.com • 217-757-6120

Before CTO
After CTO

How is my CTO treated?  

Dr. Jack Hall, medical director of the Prairie Coronary Artery CTO program at the Prairie Heart Institute, is specially trained in advanced CTO treatment. Dr. Hall will personalize a treatment plan for each patient with CTO based on the severity of their symptoms as well as their coronary artery disease. The Prairie Coronary Artery CTO program utilizes the latest techniques ensuring patients have access to the latest technologies and treatment options.

During the procedure, Dr. Hall and his team enter the patient’s body through a small incision near the patient’s groin or wrist, using tiny specialty wires and other minimally invasive devices to approach the CTO blockage(s) of the heart.  Unlike a typical cardiac catheterization, CTO treatment often involves guiding these specialty wires and devices through or around the blockage within the artery wall. For some patients, the collaterals that have formed may be used to deliver the specialty devices to the blockage.

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