It’s not unusual for doctors to insert a stent to open up a clogged heart artery. With traditional stent placement, doctors insert a small mesh tube in the artery to open up blood flow. But in some cases, a chronic total occlusion (CTO) may complicate matters. A CTO means not only is an artery 100 percent blocked, but also the blockage is hardened (calcified) because it has been building for a long time. This makes the clog much more difficult to break through.
Usually, a CTO almost always requires a major open-heart surgery. Open-heart surgery risks include infection, lack of blood to the heart during the operation, need for a blood transfusion and a long, hard recovery.
Fortunately, doctors at Mills-Peninsula have advanced training in newer, minimally invasive techniques for treating the most challenging and complex heart blockages, including CTOs. Only a small number of U.S. doctors have this expertise, which includes the ability to make on-the-spot decisions during the procedure.
With these new skills and tools, doctors at Mills-Peninsula can open almost every type of blockage and give most people the same results as with open-heart surgery. Traditional success rates for minimally invasive CTO stents were near 50 percent, but these new methods have a success rate of 90 percent and higher.
Today, if you have a minimally invasive CTO stent procedure you’ll likely go home the next day with only a bandage over tiny cuts.