Balloon angioplasty of chronic total coronary artery occlusions: What does it cost in radiation exposure, time, and materials?

Malcolm R. Bell, Peter B. Berger, Kristina K. Menke, David Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


Coronary angioplasty of chronic total occlusions is known to have a lower success rate and higher frequency of restenosis than angioplasty of subtotal stenoses, but there are no data describing the additional time, resources, and radiation exposure associated with this procedure. The purpose of this study was to compare these features in 90 consecutive patients who underwent angioplasty of a total occlusion (group 1) to those of 100 consecutive patients who underwent angioplasty of a subtotal stenosis (group 2). Angioplasty was successful in 60% of group 1 and in 94% of group 2 patients. Procedures were longer in group 1 and significantly more guide catheters, angioplasty balloon catheters, and guide wires were required per patient compared to group 2. The volume of contrast media used in each group was similar. Estimates of radiation entry exposure, calculated from fluoroscopy exposure times and using data from phantom studies, were 53 R (roentgen) per patient in group 1 vs. 34 R in group 2. These procedures were performed using pulsed progressive fluoroscopy; radiation exposure would be considerably higher using conventional fluoroscopic systems. Cineangiographic radiation exposures were similar for each group and accounted for an average additional exposure of 14–22 R for each procedure. Total radiation exposure was reduced in both groups when the angioplasty procedure was combined with the diagnostic angiogram. These observations should be considered when dilation of a total occlusion is planned. Efforts to reduce the amount of radiation exposure should remain a priority in interventional catheterization laboratories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalCatheterization and cardiovascular diagnosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992



  • coronary balloon angioplasty
  • coronary disease
  • fluoroscopy
  • ionizing radiation
  • X‐ray intensifying screens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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