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PCI/CTO Program

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Call 919-235-1999

Fax a completed medical records release form to our office at 919-231-4786 prior to your appointment.

About the WakeMed PCI/CTO Program

The WakeMed PCI/CTO Program is aimed at helping patients who have chronic total occlusions, or complete blockages of the coronary arteries.

PCI/CTO Success Rate & Statistics

  • 94% Clinical success rate, no complications
  • WakeMed's success rate stands well above the national average of 50-80%
  • 90 PCI/CTO cases performed at WakeMed, to date
  • At least one CTO procedure is performed every week

State/Regional Comparisons

  • More CTO procedures are performed at WakeMed than any other hospital in the surrounding counties and region.
  • Our physicians are the top performing CTO percutaneous coronary interventionalist in North Carolina.

What is PCI/CTO?

When you have a blockage or narrowing in a coronary artery (coronary artery disease), a procedure called Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), can open the artery or arteries so that blood can flow normally. Your cardiologist may also refer to the procedure as a coronary stent placement.

If you have a Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO) – a complete blockage that has occurred due to fatty build-up in the arteries that has hardened over time – your blood flow is severely diminished. This a more complex form of coronary artery disease, and it may result in a heart attack if left untreated.

Individuals with CTOs may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue and nausea
  • Pain in your neck or arm
  • An irregular or fast heartbeat

How PCI/CTO is Performed at WakeMed

At WakeMed, PCI/CTO is offered as a minimally invasive procedure using specialized devices to treat both narrowed and completely blocked arteries to restore normal blood flow.

Typically, patients check into the hospital the night before surgery. You will be given a sedating medication prior to the procedure. The cardiologist will utilize a narrow catheter either through your wrist or groin to access the affected artery.

Our board certified cardiologists utilize specialized wires and small balloons to open the blockage and make room for a stent. If there is a large amount of hardened and calcified plaque, your cardiologist may remove it using a small rotating tip to trim it away, called atherectomy.

The stent, a flexible mesh coil, props open the blockage and allows for normal blood flow to return into the artery. Over time, a thin scar tissue will form over the stent to hold it in place. Your cardiologist may use a drug-eluting stent that is coated in a medication that prevents too much scar tissue from growing and causing a blockage to reoccur. Your doctor will discuss which stent is best for you.

How to Prepare for PCI/CTO

We will determine whether you are eligible to undergo a PCI/CTO procedure. This will include a careful review of your medical history as well as other cardiac assessments. At WakeMed, we work with your care team to ensure the safest and best cardiovascular treatment for you.

If you are scheduled to undergo PCI/CTO, we recommend the following:

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight on the evening before the procedure.
  • Take your regular medications, but only have a small amount of water to take pills.
  • If you take blood thinners or have diabetes, talk with your doctor about any special instructions.

Recovery and Follow-Up for PCI/CTO

Patients who undergo PCI/CTO will mostly likely go home the same or next day. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home, so please bring a designated driver. You will be able to resume driving and normal activities based on your cardiologist’s recommendations.

PCI/CTO ensures that your blood flow returns to normal. As a result, over the coming weeks, you will see improvement in your overall health, including:

  • Increased energy
  • Ability to exercise
  • Improved breathing
  • Reduced chest pain

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about PCI/CTO, or to see whether you would be a candidate for the procedure, schedule a consultation today. You may also be interested in learning more about Interventional Cardiology at WakeMed