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An ABC News article reports a new study (published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2009) that assesses the effectiveness of an endoscopic method of harvesting leg veins used for replacing clogged vessels in the heart.  The study reports that patients who underwent the endoscopic or “keyhole” method, which involves pulling the vein out of a small incision in the leg, experienced a higher risk of heart attacks, repeat surgeries, and death than patients who underwent the traditional “open” surgery to remove leg veins.

Dr. Alexander, who led the study, reported that the “keyhole” method does require some pulling on the vein to remove it, and that this new study will hopefully make doctors who utilize this method to take precautionary measures when it becomes difficult to remove the vein and avoid damaging the vessels.