Knowledge in the field of bifurcation lesions and chronic total occlusions (CTOs) has progressively improved over the past 20 years. Therefore, the European Bifurcation Club and the EuroCTO Club have decided to write a joint consensus statement to share general knowledge and practical approaches in this complex field. When percutaneously treating CTOs, bifurcation lesions with relevant side branches (SBs) are found in approximately one-third of cases (35% at the proximal cap, 38% at the distal cap, and 27% within the CTO body). Occlusion of a relevant SB is not rare and has been shown to be associated with procedural complications and adverse outcomes. Simple bifurcation rules are very useful to prevent SB occlusion, and provisional SB stenting is the recommended approach in the majority of cases: protect the SB as soon as possible by wiring it, respect the fractal anatomy of the bifurcation by using the 3-diameter rule, and avoid using dissection and re-entry techniques. A systematic 2-stent approach can be used if needed or sometimes to connect both branches of the bifurcation. The retrograde approach can be very useful to save a relevant SB, especially in the case of a bifurcation at the distal cap or within the CTO body. Intravascular ultrasound is also a very important tool to address the difficulties with bifurcations at the proximal or distal cap and sometimes also within the CTO segment. Double-lumen microcatheters and angulated microcatheters are crucial tools to resolve access difficulties to the SB or the main branch.
Keywords: IVUS; bifurcation lesion; chronic total coronary occlusions; complications; dissection and re-entry; double-lumen microcatheter.
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