Facebook Pixel

He Gave Me My Life Back - A CTO Story

He Gave Me My Life Back

That’s how Jennifer Campbell feels about Islam Othman, MD, the WakeMed interventional cardiologist, after he performed her successful chronic total occlusion (CTO) procedure when she was just 42 years old.

For years Jennifer had suffered from fatigue and chest discomfort. “I was a smoker so I just attributed my symptoms to that,” she recalls. It wasn’t until she became pregnant with her son in 2009 that her cardiologist WakeMed’s John Kelley, MD, diagnosed Jennifer with pregnancy induced cardiomyopathy, a condition of the heart muscle that does not allow the heart to efficiently pump blood to the body.

Further testing revealed that Jennifer’s heart disease wasn’t a new development and it wasn’t going away after she delivered her baby. “Apparently I had two heart attacks when I was in my 20s and early 30s and I didn’t even realize it,” says Jennifer.

In December of 2009, two months after delivering her son, Jennifer had triple bypass surgery. “Two of my bypasses stayed open but the doctor couldn’t open the other one,” says Jennifer. She had at least one CTO that had been there for quite some time.

Simply defined, a chronic total occlusion is a completely or almost completely blocked artery leading to the heart that has been blocked for at least three months. “We can see CTOs that are years even decades old,” notes Dr. Othman, a leading CTO specialist who developed the WakeMed Complex PCI/CTO Program.

Jennifer felt better after her surgery, but with at least one CTO unresolved and active heart disease, her symptoms - chest pain, weakness and fatigue – returned. When medications to manage her symptoms proved ineffective, Dr. Kelley referred Jennifer to his colleague, Dr. Othman.

Dr. Othman successfully performed the procedure to tackle Jennifer's CTO and restore her blood flow on September 10, 2015. Soon after, Jennifer’s quality of life began to improve. “I felt like a normal human being again!” she exclaims.

Jennifer continues to work with Dr. Othman and Dr. Kelley to improve her heart health, quality of life and ability to keep up with her busy son.

CTOs are present in approximately 20 percent of people who undergo coronary angiograms. If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Othman to see if the WakeMed PCI/CTO Program is right for you, please call his practice, WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians, at 919-231-6132.


Established: 2013

Founder & Lead: Islam Othman, MD, WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians & national faculty member, Boston Scientific, teaching other interventional cardiologists throughout the U.S. about CTO programs.

Success Rate: 94%, no complications

Cases Performed: 90 (as of this writing), 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. Dr. Othman is the top performing CTO percutaneous coronary interventionalist in North Carolina.

 Learn more about the PCI/CTO Program here.