Coronary Total Occulsion, or CTO for short.....such a scary title that means, that artery is totally blocked with cement, friend!
My husband has one of these. It blows me away everytime I think of it. CTO also stands for the procedure that my husband is set up to have on December 3, 2012. It will take two interventionalists to perform the miracle of taking this obstruction and routing it out, so that they can then put in a stent and open up the artery 100%.
That means going through the groin on the right side up into the right coronary artery, and routing out the CTO on one side, and going up through groin on the left side and going up through the left anterior descending artery through the collaterals and routing out the occlusion from the bottom. At least, that's what I understand, but I'm sure it's much more involved than that.
My hubby will be a part of a clinical trial, so hopefully, we'll get a price break on this. I shouldn't be excited to have him be a guinea pig, but the doctors who are doing this surgery have already practiced this procedure many times with great success, and I'm told not to worry about it. I have been told this by two RN's who have seen the patients afterwards who have had this procedure done.
Truthfully, I am humbled and marvel at the second chance at life these procedures are offering. Not only the second chance of living, but the extension of life that my husband may have an opportunity to take advantage of since he has a very good chance of avoiding bypass surgery, which the doctors feel he is too young for, since bypasses have a limited time of lifespan.
The stent he received on October 18th, and the CTO and stent he will received on December 3rd will let him use his original arteries, and if we are able to not only keep them from additional clogging, and maybe reverse the plaque that still exists in his arteries, through the Esselstyn program, then he will sometime die of another cause besides heart disease.
To die of natural causes instead of this "food born illness" as Dr. Esselstyn calls it, is the hope in our minds, and what a miracle it is that we could even be thinking this way.