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Am J Cardiol. 2016 Oct 15;118(8):1128-1135. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.07.023. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Epidemiology, Management Strategies, and Outcomes of Patients With Chronic Total Coronary Occlusion.

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Department of Medicine, Montreal Heart Institute, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Department of Medicine, Montreal Heart Institute, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Electronic address:


Factors influencing the management of patients with chronic total occlusion (CTO) are poorly described. We sought to analyze the clinical and angiographic variables influencing the decision-making process of patients with CTO. Consecutive patients with at least 1 coronary artery CTO were included and categorized as managed either by percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), or medical therapy (MT). Patients with previous CABG were excluded. The CTO SYNTAX score (CTO-SS) was defined as the ratio between the score attributed to the CTO lesion in the SYNTAX score calculation and the total SYNTAX score. Independent predictors of management strategies were sought. A total of 510 patients were included (CTO incidence: 20%): 9% were treated with PCI, 34% with CABG, and 57% with MT. SYNTAX score was lowest in PCI (14.8 [11.0 to 18.5]) and highest in CABG (31.5 [25.0 to 38.8], p <0.0001). PCI was attempted more often in patients with higher CTO-SS (i.e., those with higher contribution to the overall SYNTAX score from the CTO lesion; 88% had a CTO-SS >0.5). Conversely, CABG was preferred in subjects with lower CTO-SS (61% had a CTO-SS ≤0.5, p <0.0001). Age, ejection fraction, SYNTAX score, and age of the CTO were independent predictors of revascularization. At mid-term follow-up, unsuccessful revascularization or MT was independently associated with death (hazard ratio 7.2, p = 0.0005). In conclusion, CTOs are frequently documented in clinical practice. However, less than a half is revascularized. Management strategies are influenced by angiographic variables such as the SYNTAX score and the newly proposed CTO-SS.

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