Coronary Chronic Total Occlusion

A coronary chronic total occlusion is a total blockage in a coronary artery that has been present for at least three months. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. If the complete blockage has been present for less than three months, it is called a total coronary occlusion. The blockage is caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits and inflammatory cells (called plaque) on the inner walls of the arteries that restrict blood flow to the heart. Without adequate blood flow, the heart becomes starved of oxygen and vital nutrients it needs to work properly. When one or more of the coronary arteries suddenly becomes completely blocked, a hear t attack (injury to the heart muscle) may occur.

At one time, a coronary chronic total occlusion required coronary bypass surgery. Today, qualifying patients can be treated with a minimally invasive procedure called a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Sometimes called a coronary angioplasty, the PCI process involves using a device comprised of guide wires and a catheter fitted with a balloon to break up the blockage, after which a small mesh tube called a stent is placed in the affected area to support the inner wall of the artery and help maintain blood flow. The relatively new treatment is less invasive and allows for a faster recovery than bypass surgery.

Why UAB

UAB Interventional Cardiology is an internationally recognized leader in cardiac services, combining compassionate, innovative patient care with the most advanced technology and basic and clinical research. The program makes use of catheterization, stenting, angioplasty, and other minimally invasive interventional treatments to unblock clogged arteries.

UAB is one of the first heart centers in the nation to use a new procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention of coronary chronic total occlusion, which allows many patients to avoid bypass surgery.

Interventional Cardiology provides both inpatient and outpatient consultative care at UAB Hospital and at The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital. The UAB Heart and Vascular Center, located in UAB Hospital’s North Pavilion, is one of the largest centers of its kind in the Southeast, encompassing 55,000 square feet. It also is among the first of its kind to integrate multiple services including electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, neuro-interventional radiology, pediatric cardiology, and vascular interventional radiology.

PHYSICIANS

Related Treatments

Depending on your case and your physician’s assessment, your condition may be treated using one or more various procedures. Some of those procedures are listed below for your convenience. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list and may vary depending on your specific diagnosis.

Related Conditions

Listed below are some conditions that may be related to or share some similarities with the condition addressed on this page.

Clinical Trials

UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic total occlusion. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials