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In chronic coronary occlusions the chance of successful reopening by angioplasty can be judged from the age of the occlusion. Often, however, time since occlusion cannot be accurately assessed. Therefore we determined whether the chance of reopening can be predicted from angiographic morphology. In cineangiograms from 60 consecutive patients with chronic coronary occlusions morphological details in at least two projections were evaluated in relation to the rate of success and the estimated age of occlusion. Morphological features associated with a higher rate of success (type A) were a clearcut proximal stump, absence of side branches at the site of occlusion, absence of bridging collaterals, and only slight filling of the distal part of the vessel. Features associated with a low success rate (type B) were absence of proximal stump, side branches at the site of occlusion, bridging collaterals, and rapid high-contrast filling of the distal part of the vessel. 48/60 (80%) of occlusions could be classified as type A or type B. The success rate was 17/21 (81%) in type A versus 5/27 (18.5%) in type B (P < 0.0002). The estimated age of type B occlusions was higher than that of type A medians 8 and 4 months (P < 0.002). Thus in chronic coronary occlusions the likelihood of successful reopening can be judged in many patients from morphological features.