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Sanford Heart Hospital and Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center to implement robotic assisted stent placement

The Helmsley Charitable Trust funds revolutionary robotic heart equipment at Sanford

(Sioux Falls, SD and Aberdeen, SD) Sanford Health announced today it has received $2.4m in funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to advance heart care for the region. The grant will support the purchase and installation of the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared robotic-assisted technology to aid interventional cardiologists in placing stents and balloons in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).  

Corindus_225X200Thanks to the generous donation, Sanford Health will implement two CorPath 200 robotic-assisted catheterization systems, one to be installed in the Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls and the other at the Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center. When both systems are installed, Sanford Health will be the first in the region to have this technology and only the fifth and sixth locations in the United States.  

During a traditional procedure, physicians utilize X-ray guidance to manually push a catheter through the coronary arteries. Thousands of cardiac stent procedures are successfully performed every year in the United States, but a key challenge is positioning the stent, guidewires and catheter at the precise location of the blockage. The CorPath 200 System by Corindus Vascular Robotics enables physicians to have exact robotic assisted movements during these critical heart procedures. It gives the physician improved visualization, reduces procedure time and minimizes the amount of contrast media (chemical) needed. 

“This technology is likely one of the biggest advancements for the cardiac catheterization lab in decades, so it is tremendous to have two systems coming to this region,” said Tom Stys, MD, medical director, Sanford Heart Hospital. “With an increasing amount of complex procedures being performed, we feel it is essential to invest in new technology that will help physicians provide enhanced patient care. On behalf of my colleagues and our patients, we are incredibly grateful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for this grant. It will truly save lives.” 

As part of the implementation, Sanford Health will also establish a telepresence between Aberdeen and Sioux Falls, allowing cardiologists an immediate connection to their colleagues during a catheterization lab heart procedure. 

“This technology improves rural access and quality as fewer patients will need to travel out of this area for care,” said Puneet Sharma, MD, cardiologist, Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center. “Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death for men and women in South Dakota. Timely access to emergency cardiac care and survival is partly dependent on access to services and technology, and this is a tremendous opportunity to have this equipment coming to Aberdeen. It is a great example of Sanford Health’s commitment to this region.” 

The CorPath 200 System allows interventional cardiologists to manipulate and move the catheter millimeter-by-millimeter from a radiation-protected cockpit. The physician uses a joystick to perform procedures, precisely advancing catheters, angioplasty balloons and stents to clear the blockage and restore blood flow.  

“In addition to the obvious patient benefit, this new equipment also benefits our staff,” said Charles O’Brien, MD, president, Sanford USD Medical Center. “Our physicians are able to work from a robotic-control ‘booth’ near the patient and no longer need stand for long periods of time wearing lead-lined safety gear.” 

The FDA approved the CorPath 200 System in July 2012. Sanford Heart Hospital expects to install the system in the coming weeks. Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center will implement the system after Jan. 1. 

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas and is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in eight states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ireland, Ghana, Israel and Mexico.

Sanford Health includes 35 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,200 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 25,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with Denny Sanford's nearly $700 million in gifts, the largest ever to a health care organization in America. These gifts are making possible the implementation of several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding cures for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. For more information, please visit

About Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in a variety of selected areas. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grant-making, it has committed over $700 million to a wide range of charitable organizations.   For more information on the Trust and its programs, please visit the website,

Stacy Bauer Jones
Director, Sanford Media Relations – Sioux Falls Region
24/7 Media Line (605) 366-2432 /   
Follow me on Twitter @SanfordStacy

Julie Stevenson
Sanford Marketing/Media Relations – Aberdeen
(605) 626-4219 /