BACKGROUND: In the setting of chronic stable angina, successful percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) of chronic total occlusions (CTO) has been shown to produce significant symptom improvement with some evidence for survival benefit. However, the economic basis for this procedure has not been established compared with optimal medical treatment (OMT) of chronic stable angina. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the cost-effectiveness of CTO-PCI in chronic stable angina using a Markov model. DESIGN: The transition probabilities, utilities and costs related to CTO-PCI and OMT used to inform the model were derived from literature and our experience. Implications with respect to cost and quality of life were calculated. Sensitivity analyses were based on factors noted to influence model outcome. RESULTS: In the reference case, mean age 60 years, rate of successful CTO-PCI 67.9%, and mean transition probabilities, utilities and costs as defined by literature and clinical experience, the strategy of CTO-PCI incurred higher costs relative to OMT (US$31 512 vs US$27 805), but also accumulated greater quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) (2.38 vs 1.99), yielding a cost-effectiveness ratio of US$9505 per QALY. Sensitivity analyses showed the utility of OMT and utilities postsuccessful and postunsuccessful CTO-PCI to be the most influential drivers of outcome. Procedural success held limited influence over model outcome at particular utility threshold values. CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of the supporting evidence, this decision-analytic model suggests that CTO-PCI is cost-effective in a patient population with severe symptoms. Quality-of-life metrics should be employed in future appropriateness criteria developed for CTO-PCI.