National Leaders in Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO) Treatment

The interventional cardiology specialists at Torrance Memorial Medical Center continue to advance the field of cardiovascular care, refining and improving a procedure to treat coronary artery chronic total occlusion (CTO) that uses a minimally invasive technique called chronic total occlusion percutaneous coronary intervention (CTO PCI).

CTO PCI is Revolutionizing the Treatment of CTO Patients

CTO is a type of coronary artery disease caused by a heavy build-up of plaque in the arteries that carry blood to your heart. CTO can result in a total or almost complete blockage of a coronary artery, creating a “wall” that prevents blood from flowing to your heart.

These large blockages are difficult to clear using traditional catheter-based approaches. In most cases the only effective treatment for CTO has been coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, or open-heart surgery — a procedure that has a high risk of complications and requires a long recovery. Additionally, a significant number of patients with CTO are considered too high-risk for open heart surgery, leaving them with no treatment options.

Led by cardiologist Ray Wyman, M.D., the interventional cardiology team at Torrance Memorial uses a new technique — CTO PCI — to treat patients with CTO. This procedure makes it possible to treat CTO through a needle puncture in the skin during a procedure called percutaneous revascularization. CTO PCI allows patients to avoid CABG and offers new hope to patients who otherwise would not have qualified for surgery.

What makes CTO PCI such a game changer?

Although physicians have been performing percutaneous revascularization for years, this procedure has not previously been used to treat CTO. That’s because CTO blockages tend to be large and difficult to safely clear using a catheter.

Dr. Wyman is expert in an advanced technique that uses devices to approach the blockage from the “forward” and “backward” directions, allowing him to safely clear the artery and place a stent to hold the artery open. Very few interventional cardiologists are able to perform this technique, making Torrance Memorial one the few hospitals to offer this life saving option.

As pioneers in the use of this technique, the interventional cardiology specialists at Torrance Memorial have established themselves as national leaders in CTO treatment. Dr. Wyman and his team are now using the latest two-way communication technology to teach this new technique to cardiologists around the world.

Cardiovascular Research

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