St. Vincent Evansville Exclusively Offers Life-Changing Heart Procedure for Chronic Total Occlusions


According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and is responsible for 370,000 deaths each year. CAD is the build-up of plaque in heart arteries that blocks blood flow to the heart. Blocking the flow of blood means that the heart cannot get the oxygen and nutrients it needs. This can cause “angina” or chest discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue, or even a heart attack. Chronic Total Occlusions (CTOs) happen when a heart artery is completely blocked and has been so for 3 months or longer. The heart builds “natural bypasses” to keep the heart muscle alive, but this area of the heart still does not receive a normal blood supply.

Historically, treatment options for CTOs have been very limited. Opening these complete blockages can be difficult and requires special training and equipment.  In the past, open heart surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), was really the only option if medicines failed. However, some patients are not candidates for CABG due to other risk factors. Many patients also develop CTOs after CABG, and the risk of another operation is high. In the past, these patients were left with little to no options for treatment. For years, patients have been told “there is nothing that can be done,” and they live with significant symptoms despite maximum medical therapy.

Dr. Jarrod Frizzell, interventional cardiologist at St. Vincent Evansville, is the only physician in the Tri-State area who specializes in performing the chronic total occlusion percutaneous coronary intervention (CTO PCI) procedure, in which stents are used to open these completely blocked arteries. This procedure offers hope to those who previously had little to no other options. Although complex, CTO PCI is minimally invasive, going through small holes in the wrist and/or groin. This means patients have a quicker recovery period than traditional open-heart surgery. The procedure itself includes steering special guide wires and catheters across or around the completely blocked areas. 

Dr. Frizzell offers the CTO PCI procedure locally at St. Vincent Evansville and routinely travels to Indianapolis to work alongside his colleagues at St. Vincent to provide this service to patients across Indiana.

If you would like to arrange for an interview with Dr. Frizzell please call me at 812-485-4897.