DOI: 10.1002/ehf2.14609 ISSN: 2055-5822

Angiographic classification of total occlusion and its implication on balloon pulmonary angioplasty

Tao Yang, Xin Li, Qin Luo, Qing Zhao, Qixian Zeng, Yi Zhang, Anqi Duan, Zhihua Huang, Meixi Hu, Sicheng Zhang, Luyang Gao, Changming Xiong, Zhihui Zhao, Zhihong Liu
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine



Despite refinements in balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA), total occlusion remains a challenge in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). Owing to their low success and high complication rates, most interventional cardiologists are reluctant to address total occlusion, and there is a paucity of literature on BPA performance in total occlusion. We aimed to classify total occlusion according to morphology and present an illustrative approach for devising a tailored treatment strategy for each distinct type of total occlusion.

Methods and results

All patients diagnosed with CTEPH who underwent BPA between May 2018 and May 2022 at Fuwai Hospital in Beijing, China, were included retrospectively. A total of 204 patients with CTEPH who underwent BPA were included in this study. Among these, 38 occluded lesions were addressed in 33 patients. Based on the morphology, we categorized the lesions into three groups: pointed‐head, round‐head, and orifice occlusions. Pointed‐head occlusion could be successfully addressed using soft‐tip wire, round‐head occlusion warranted hard‐tip wire and stronger backup, and orifice occlusion warranted the strongest backup force. The success rates for each group were as follows: pointed‐head (95.45%), round‐head (46.15%), and orifice occlusion (33.33%), with orifice occlusion having the highest complication rate (50%). The classification of occlusion was associated with BPA success (round‐head occlusion vs. pointed‐head occlusion, OR 24.500, 95% CI 2.498–240.318, P = 0.006; orifice occlusion vs. pointed‐head occlusion, OR 42.000, 95% CI 3.034–581.434, P = 0.005).


Occlusion morphology has a significant impact on BPA success and complication rates. A treatment strategy tailored to each specific occlusive lesion, as outlined in the present study, has the potential to serve as a valuable guide for clinical practitioners.

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