Complex Coronary Interventions
Chronic total occlusion (CTO) occurs when the coronary arteries are completely (or almost completely) blocked by fatty deposits, or plaque. Highly complex, minimally invasive procedures available at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute can greatly lower heart attack risk associated with CTO.
What are complex coronary interventions?
CTO is a severe form of coronary artery disease. Our interventional cardiologists have advanced training in performing complex coronary interventions, including angioplasty and stenting, to open completely (or almost completely) clogged arteries.
During this procedure, your physician:
- Threads two catheters (thin, hollow tubes) from an artery in the wrist or groin up to the heart
- Injects a contrast dye into the coronary arteries. X-ray images show the dye as it flows through the arteries, helping pinpoint blockages.
- Inserts a very fine guide wire into the blocked artery from the front (antegrade) and back (retrograde)
- Uses a balloon angioplasty technique to inflate a balloon inside the artery to open it up
- Places permanent, drug-eluting stents (small mesh coils) that hold open the artery and release medication over time to prevent plaque buildup
Learn more about coronary artery disease.