Overview

What Is Chronic Total Occlusion?

Chronic total occlusion (CTO) is the complete blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries with thoroughly solid plaque, a hard or soft waxy substance that forms in the arteries. Often, because there is severe compromise of blood flow, the heart’s remaining coronary arteries detour blood to the compromised area by forming collaterals or new arteries that feed the heart.

Some patients with CTO don’t even 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.