Background: The retrograde approach to coronary chronic total occlusions (CTOs) can be used as the initial crossing strategy (primary retrograde) or after failure of antegrade crossing attempts (secondary retrograde).
Methods: We compared baseline clinical and angiographic characteristics and procedural outcomes of primary vs secondary retrograde crossing for CTO percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) among 2789 procedures performed at 34 centers between 2012 and 2021.
Results: Retrograde CTO-PCI was performed as the primary crossing strategy in 1086 cases (38.9%) and as a secondary approach in 1703 cases (61.1%). Patients in the primary group had slightly lower left ventricular ejection fraction (49.1% vs 50.4%; P=.02), were more likely to have had prior coronary artery bypass graft surgery (52.9% vs 38.4%; P<.001), and had higher J-CTO (3.31 ± 0.98 vs 2.99 ± 1.09; P<.001) and PROGRESS-CTO scores (1.47 ± 0.92 vs 1.29 ± 0.99; P<.001). Technical (81.4% vs 77.3%; P=.01) and procedural success rates (78.6% vs 74.1%; P<.01) were higher in the primary retrograde group, with no difference between in-hospital major adverse event rates (4.3% vs 4.0%; P=.66). Contrast volume (250 mL [interquartile range (IQR), 176-347] vs 270 mL [IQR, 190-367]; P<.001) and procedure time (175 minutes [IQR, 127-233] vs 180 minutes [IQR, 142-236]; P<.001) were lower in the primary group.
Conclusions: Use of retrograde approach as the primary crossing strategy is associated with higher rates of technical and procedural success and similar rates of in-hospital major adverse cardiac events compared with secondary retrograde CTO-PCI.
Keywords: chronic total occlusion; percutaneous coronary intervention; retrograde approach.