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Chronic Total Occlusion

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We offer a highly advanced, ground-breaking approach to treat patients with chronic total occlusion, or complete blockages, of the coronary arteries.

What is chronic total occlusion (CTO)?

Chronic total occlusion, or CTO, is a complete or almost complete blockage of one or more coronary arteries caused by a buildup of plaque within the arteries. When plaque builds up in the arteries, it makes it harder for blood flow to reach the heart causing coronary artery disease (CAD).

Chronic total occlusion symptoms

When the heart does not receive enough blood, a person may experience the following (with or without physical exertion):

  • Chest pain, pressure, or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the upper body and arm
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

Chronic total occlusion treatment

In the past, treatment options for CTO were limited with open-heart surgery often the only option. The advanced training of our cardiac interventionalists allows WellSpan York Hospital to offer patients a minimally invasive approach called chronic total occlusion percutaneous coronary intervention (CTO PCI).

We work to ensure you receive the best care at all points during your visit starting with a careful review of your history, clinical data, and previous assessments of your cardiac and overall medical condition to determine whether CTO PCI is your best option.

The CTO procedure is performed by our experienced cardiac interventionalists who have advanced training to treat blockages in patients with CTO. The procedure generally takes between 2-4 hours, depending on the complexity of the blockages. We observe all patients for at least six hours following their procedure, and some patients are admitted to the hospital overnight.

You’re in good hands

CTO PCI is complex and requires expert care. Only 1-2% of cardiologists in the U.S. can perform the full range of CTO PCI. Our team at WellSpan York Hospital is among them, earning international recognition for their work in this area. In fact, WellSpan York Hospital is among the top hospitals in the country for CTO PCI, performing an average of 250 of these procedures each year.