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PA Champions Vein Harvesting Techniques

Matt Petrides, PA-C, BS, BHS, Shares Journey: From Filing Cabinet to Restoring Hearts Nationwide

In beautiful Central New Jersey, a few blocks from the beach, Board Certified PA Matt Petrides, PA-C, BS, BHS, together with a highly skilled team of cardiac surgeons and nurses, tirelessly works to restore the hearts of patients in the operating room of HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

Despite the picturesque surroundings, Petrides devotes much of his spare time to his true passion – instructing and mentoring fellow PAs nationwide in endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH).

“I truly enjoy education and have even started designing and producing models for PAs, cardiac surgery fellows and vascular surgery residents,” Petrides said. “These models are designed to help enhance their technical skills and can be used from the comfort of their own homes.”

Petrides recently authored a white paper that delves into the latest advancements and minimally invasive techniques in EVH, advocating for enhanced vein graft quality and potentially improved vein graft patency.

“Historically, EVH was known for having a steep learning curve – taking up to 100 cases to become proficient,” Petrides said. “One of my passions has been to help develop bench top training devices and instructional videos to reduce the learning curve to quickly onboard PAs.”

There are about 2,900 PAs who practice in the cardiothoracic surgery specialty, according to the NCCPA 2022 Statistical Profile of Board Certified PAs by Specialty report. This specialty, along with vascular surgery, offer significant opportunities for specialization.

Petrides’ career journey began serendipitously in a college biology department. While rummaging through a graduate school file cabinet of brochures, he stumbled on a Duke University PA Program trifold. The prospect of blending health care and teamwork resonated deeply with him and set him on his path in cardiac surgery.

“When I read it, it seemed a perfect fit for me,” Petrides recalled. “I wanted to continue my education and join a profession in the health care field, and I liked the idea of being part of a medical or surgical team.”

EVH plays a crucial role in coronary artery bypass surgery, providing surgeons with conduits to bypass blockages on the heart.

“We also harvest the radial artery endoscopically to use for the same purpose,” Petrides explained. “What was so important – and transformative – about EVH when it became the standard of care for harvesting the vein at the beginning of the century, was that it dramatically reduced post op complications, reduced length of stay and improved patient satisfaction.”

A successful vein harvest is one where there is minimal contact with the vein, particularly at the side branches and minimal bleeding within the tunnel after removing the vein through the 3/4 inch incision.

Petrides finds cardiac surgery to be more than just a life-changing procedure. He is driven by the collaborative nature of the work and the gratification of positively impacting people’s lives – which keeps his passion alive.

“PAs depend on many people on the team to actually make EVH happen,” Petrides said. “Being a PA in cardiac surgery has been such a rewarding and exciting career. Even after 35 years, I still find joy in what I do.”

Matt Petrides PA-C, BS, BHS, is a Board Certified Physician Assistant who works in cardiac surgery at HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center. To learn more about Petrides’ work, follow his YouTube channel and for additional training videos, visit