Skip To Content

Search the Newsroom:

(Seperate multiple keywords with a comma)

Sanford Heart Hospital leads way in new vein procedure for coronary bypass patients

Endovascular vein harvesting method boasts numerous benefits

(Sioux Falls, SD) –Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls now offers a new, less-invasive approach to harvest the saphenous vein for coronary bypass patients, using a scope to minimize scarring and accelerate recovery time.

Typically, the vein used for the bypass grafts is removed from the inside of the leg through a long incision that extends from the ankle to the groin. This traditional method leaves not only a long, visible scar, but some patients have experienced more pain from the incision in the leg than the bypass incision in the chest.

This new method of endovascular vein harvesting (EVH) uses a scope to remove the sapenous vein from the leg through one to three small incisions, each extending 1 to 2 inches long. Once the vein is removed, it is cauterized to reduce bleeding.

Sanford Heart Hospital is the only program in the region that offers this technology for EVH.

Nykamp_Verlyn_160X200“Endoscopic vein harvesting is going to benefit our patients by providing a faster recovery with fewer complications and less postoperative pain,” said Verlyn Nykamp, MD, of Sanford Heart Hospital. “We strive to make advancements that will be better for patient care, and this less-invasive procedure is one of Sanford’s many advancements offered in the past year.”  

This new procedure offers many benefits to patients, including minimal pain, reduced length of stay in the hospital, a decreased chance of infection, less leg swelling and quicker healing of the leg to allow the patient to start cardiac rehab earlier. This procedure is especially beneficial to diabetics and those with poor circulation.

Sanford cardiac surgeons, who have offered the procedure since 2012, have performed more than 150 of these surgeries. To learn more about endovascular vein harvesting, call (605) 312-2100.

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 Ghana, Israel and Mexico.

Sanford Health includes 35 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 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

Tim Gerszewski
Sanford Media Strategist – Sioux Falls Region
(605) 366-2432 /   
Follow me on Twitter @SanfordTimG