(Hartford, Conn.) – Kevin Vida, M.S., PA-C, at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center recently traveled to Blackpool Victoria Hospital in Blackpool, England, to demonstrate to six surgeons and medical staff endoscopic vein and radial artery harvesting (EVH/ERAH), a procedure never before performed in the UK.

EVH/ERAH is a minimally invasive technique where the radial artery in the forearm and the saphenous vein in the inner thigh are removed and then utilized in bypass surgery to alleviate blockages. Currently, there are 46,000 cases of coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) performed annually in the UK while 300,000 are conducted here in the U.S.

During his week-long visit, Vida and a group of British surgeons successfully performed EVH/ERAH on eight patients. “The entire medical staff was eager to learn this minimally invasive technique. The end result was less pain and quicker recovery for the patients we operated on, something we are used to seeing here in the U.S., but is truly revolutionary there,” explained Vida.

“Our cardiac surgery program has a strong presence across the state of Connecticut as a center of excellence through our Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute. This recognition as a leader in cardiac care is now growing worldwide,” said Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, Chairman, Department of Surgery, at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

Saint Francis has the leading endoscopic vessel harvesting training program in New England. As a result, Guidant, worldwide developer and manufacturer of medical devices, selected Vida to travel to England.

Vida and cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. William Martinez have also been selected by Guidant to be lead trainers for the company in ‘off-pump’ beating heart surgery. This type of surgery is performed using a ‘heartstring’ device, a tool that allows surgeons to operate without having to ‘clamp’ the aorta. This type of procedure leads to better outcomes and a reduced risk of stroke during surgery.

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.