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Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO)

COR Healthcare Medical Associates

Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology & Electrophysiology located in Torrance, CA, Manhattan Beach, CA, San Pedro, CA, Redondo Beach, CA & El Segundo, CA

Your heart needs an uninterrupted supply of blood to function as it should. If your heart can’t get the blood it needs, you could suffer a heart attack. Chronic total occlusion (CTO) refers to the complete blockage of a coronary artery that’s been present for three or more months. The innovative team at COR Healthcare Medical Associates, with offices in Torrance, San Pedro, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and El Segundo, California, offers advanced treatments for CTO to restore blood flow to the heart. For expert cardiac care, call the Los Angeles office most convenient to you or select the online booking tool.

Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO) Q & A

What is chronic total occlusion (CTO)?

CTO refers to the complete blockage of a coronary artery that’s been present for three or more months. The obstruction develops over time due to the buildup of plaque along the blood vessel walls. You could be at risk of CTO if you have:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of heart disease

Smoking and being overweight also increases your risk of CTO. If your heart isn’t able to get an adequate supply of blood due to the complete blockage of an artery, you can experience chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, even suffer a heart attack.

What are CTO symptoms?

CTO can cause additional symptoms beyond chest pain and shortness of breath. With CTO you can also experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in your right arm

When your artery is completely blocked, you would experience these symptoms whether you’re active or at rest. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you should schedule an evaluation with the experienced team at COR Healthcare Medical Associates.

The team offers innovative treatments for CTO that can improve heart health and reduce your risk of more serious health complications like a heart attack.

How is CTO diagnosed?

The cardiology specialists at COR Healthcare Medical Associates offer comprehensive evaluations to determine if your symptoms are due to CTO. During your evaluation, the team asks detailed questions about your symptoms, as well as your medical and family history, and then do a physical exam.

To evaluate your heart and the coronary arteries, the team will also conduct diagnostic tests like:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiography
  • Coronary angiography
  • MRI
  • CT scan

The team uses the information gathered during your exam to develop your treatment plan.

How is CTO treated?

Traditionally, doctors performed coronary-artery bypass surgery to treat CTO. However, with advances in surgical treatments, less invasive options are now being used to repair the blocked artery.

COR Healthcare Medical Associates is one of only three practices testing and developing the CTO catheter technique for the treatment of a completely blocked artery. 

During the procedure, the cardiologist uses a special guidewire to access the blockage. Balloons and stents are then placed to open the artery to restore blood flow.

To learn more about the innovative treatment for CTO, call COR Healthcare Medical Associates or request an appointment online today.