Rotational atherectomy in resistant chronic total occlusions

Paolo Pagnotta, Carlo Briguori, Ruggiero Mango, Gabriella Visconti, Amelia Focaccio, Guido Belli, Patrizia Presbitero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To assess the application of rotational atherectomy to improving the success rate of percutaneous recanalization of chronic total occlusion (CTO). Background: Although the inability to cross the occlusion with a guidewire is the reason for failure in the majority of cases, one of the most frustrating situations that may occur during a recanalization procedure is when a guidewire crosses successfully but it is impossible to advance any device over the wire through the occluded segment. Methods: From January 2006 to October 2009, 45/648 (7%) consecutive patients with CTO resistant to recanalization by conventional techniques were treated by high-speed rotational atherectomy (Rotablator group). Results: All but two lesions were successfully crossed by Rotablator and eventually treated by stent implantation. As compared to the 603 CTO treated by conventional techniques (Conventional group), the 45 patients in the Rotablator group were older, more often female, active smokers, with chronic kidney disease and higher rate of previous surgical revascularization. The CTO in the Rotablator group had a longer duration. Peri-procedural myocardial infarction was more frequent in the Rotablator group (35% vs. 22%; P = 0.044). Coronary perforation occurred only in three patients in the Conventional group and two of these patients needed urgent surgical intervention. No patient died from either group. Conclusions: The inability to cross a CTO with a balloon catheter occurs in approximately 7% of all CTOs that are successfully crossed with a guidewire. Rotational atherectomy is a safe and effective technique to overcome this frustrating situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-371
Number of pages6
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Atherectomy
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Total occlusions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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