Chronic total occlusion (CTO) is a severe form of coronary artery disease, and occurs when the coronary arteries are completely (or almost completely) blocked by fatty deposits, or plaque.
At CACVI, we have an expert team of interventional cardiologists in Los Angeles who perform complex coronary interventions, including angioplasty and stenting, to open completely (or almost completely) clogged arteries.
We are dedicated to prioritizing patient comfort, while ensuring that you get top-notch treatment. Reach out to us now for a consultation!
What is stenting?
Stenting is the process of placing a stent. A stent is a tiny wire mesh tube made of medical-grade stainless steel or cobalt alloy metal. Stents expand against blocked or narrowed artery walls and are left there permanently. They act as a scaffold to keep arteries open.
How is the Coronary artery stenting procedure performed?
Coronary artery stenting involves the administration of a fine angioplasty catheter into the affected coronary arteries. Utilizing advanced imagery technology, one of our physicians will carefully guide the angioplasty catheter where the coronary artery is at its most narrow. A wire with a ballooned tip will be inserted through the catheter where it will widen the narrowed artery, resulting in healthier blood flow.
The physician will then remove the angioplasty balloon and insert a catheter with a closed stent on it. He will then place the stent in the artery, which pushes against the walls of the artery, serving as a support to keep it open. Keep in mind that many stents are coated with medication that is slowly released to help prevent the artery from becoming blocked again. These are called drug-eluting stents.
This procedure is minimally invasive, and will not require any extensive incisions.
Benefits of Coronary Artery Stenting
By opening up narrowed arteries, stenting improves blood flow to the heart muscles. It also relieves symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain and breath shortage.
A clear benefit to this procedure is that it is not invasive when compared to coronary artery bypass surgery. This makes recovery time shorter as patients can often go back home on the same day or the next day.
Risks and Considerations
There is a risk that the artery can narrow again over time (restenosis). Drug-eluting stents have reduced this risk compared to older, bare-metal stents. Stents can also increase the risk of blood clots forming at the site of the stent. To reduce this risk, patients are usually prescribed blood-thinning medications for a period after the procedure.
Furthermore. the use of blood-thinning medications also increases the risk of bleeding.
What can I expect following the procedure?
A blood-thinning medicine may be prescribed to you to prevent blood clots and to aid in proper blood flow until the treated area heals. Each patient will have follow-up appointments with our physicians to monitor their recovery process.
Lifestyle changes are also recommended to improve heart health, including quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress.
Contact us now for a consultation!