Chronic total occlusion (CTO) of the coronary arteries is a common disease in people with coronary heart disease, especially those who have had acute myocardial infarction. Reopening (recanalization) with a catheter is an alternative to open heart surgery, especially for elderly patients or patients at increased risk of surgery. The cardiac surgeon inserts one or two catheters through a puncture in the radial or femoral artery into the coronary arteries with great care. With the help of a contrast agent that makes the vessels visible on an X-ray image, the blockages can be localized, recanalized with a special technique, and then gradually expanded with a balloon. After balloon expansion (balloon angioplasty), a stent is implanted to prevent further narrowing at the site of expansion.
This technique is minimally invasive, low-traumatic, well tolerated by patients, and does not require long-term hospitalization.