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CTOs have typically been present for more than three months and are the result of a severe build-up of fatty deposits or plaque in the arteries. CTOs are commonly found in patients suffering from coronary artery disease.

When blockages occur, new blood vessels called ‘collateral blood vessels’ form around the blockage to help blood to continue to flow. During this procedure, a catheter with a balloon is inserted into these blood vessels. The balloon is inflated and a stent inserted to widen the vessel. This newly widened vessel allows the blood to flow more freely again.