At UF Health Jacksonville, our interventional cardiology team has the expertise to diagnose and treat coronary artery blockages referred to as chronic total occlusion or CTO. These highly trained experts offer advanced procedures — including percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI — to reopen blocked arteries and restore blood flow, offering patients a chance for an improved quality of life.
What is a chronic total occlusion (CTO)?
Unlike an abrupt blockage that can cause a sudden heart attack, a CTO develops more slowly over time. Beginning as a buildup of plaque within the artery, a CTO will eventually reduce the blood flow to the heart. Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and neck or arm pain.
What is percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for CTO?
Percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, refers to a group of minimally invasive procedures that use small incisions to insert a catheter, which is a thin flexible tube, that is guided through the artery to the blockage in the heart.
Performed in a cardiac catheterization lab, these procedures use the latest imaging technologies and equipment. Prior to PCI, treatment options for CTO were limited to either medical therapy or coronary artery bypass grafting surgery.
Benefits of PCI for CTO
- PCI provides a treatment option for patients whose symptoms persist despite medical therapy and for those who are not candidates for bypass surgery due to age or other medical issues.
- There are several types of PCI that can be tailored to meet individual needs and provide the best possible outcomes.
- Patients who undergo minimally invasive procedures typically have shorter recovery times with fewer complications.