Hartford, Conn. - Dr. William Martinez, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, is the first surgeon on the East Coast to use the C-Port xA® technology to perform an anastomosis, attaching the end of a graft to a coronary artery during bypass surgery. To date, he has performed 18 successful surgeries using this tool.

In conventional bypass surgery, hand-sewn sutures surgically link coronary arteries to bypass a blockage. The blood is then re-routed through the healthy vessel and restored to the heart muscle.

The C-Port xA device, recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, replaces hand-sewn sutures with miniature stainless steel staples in order to connect the blood vessel grafts. “It’s like a little anvil,” explains Dr. Martinez. “You insert it in the coronary artery and then you press the button and fire these staples. It opens the artery as it simultaneously connects the vein to the artery in a single, integrated procedure.”

The C-Port xA device can connect a blood vessel as small as one millimeter in diameter. “You’re able to use this device on very small vessels – even vessels that you may not have wanted to bypass in the past with the typical hand-sewn technique,” adds Dr. Martinez. “It’s incredibly easy to use.”

“The result is a much quicker operation since a surgeon using a conventional, hand-sewn whip stitch can spend 5-15 minutes to create a distal anastomosis,” says Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, Director of Surgery at Saint Francis. “The shorter operative time leads to a faster recovery.”

For patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery at Saint Francis, the option of the C-Port xA device offers an increased likelihood that a vessel will remain free of blockage over a significant amount of time. A recent study revealed that a graft inserted by the C-Port xA device remained open 95% of the time during a 6-20 month period.

The C-Port xA device is the latest technology available to assist surgeons in a delicate and difficult operation, in less time, and with more ease.

Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets and is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.