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Treating Chronic Total Occlusion

If you have coronary artery disease, that means an artery that supplies blood to your heart has plaque in it, which can obstruct or limit blood flow. With chronic total occlusion (CTO), a form of coronary artery diseasean artery in the heart becomes completely blocked.

smoking can lead to chronic total occlusion, a form of coronary artery disease
Smoking is a risk factor for chronic total occlusion.

Risk factors include:

  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • A family history of CTO

People with CTO often have no symptoms, but once the disease becomes more advanced, they can experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue

CTO used to be very difficult to treat, with only a 40 to 50 percent success rate. But at UVA, doctors use catheter-based approaches to treat CTO with an 80 to 90 percent success rate.

In this week’s podcast, Michael Ragosta, MD, explains how cardiologists diagnose and treat chronic total occlusion.

Listen to the podcast:

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