Duane Tysver, with his daughter, Tammy Tysver, is grateful for expert heart care at Sanford Bismarck.

‘Beautiful’ recovery after heart surgery

January 27, 2020

Into his mid-80s, Duane Tysver spent long days farming cattle and grain south of Hazen, N.D.

Even as pain in his chest became increasingly worse, the stoic farmer and 21-year U.S. Air Force veteran pushed through it for years, putting off medical attention.

Eventually, Tysver stepped back from farming and turned the reins over to his son, Tom Tysver, but his heart condition didn’t improve.

Finally, last summer, Tysver reached his limit. Getting around the house had become a struggle, and even short walks left him short of breath.

“I kept putting it off until I couldn’t do much anymore,” Tysver said.


Time to take action

Tysver made the trip to Sanford Bismarck where testing quickly identified the trouble: four blocked arteries.

Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Sean Russell recommended a coronary artery bypass grafting surgery to restore the blood flow.

“I talked to him for a few minutes, and then all I could say was ‘Let’s do it,’” Tysver said. “It was that or do nothing and not have a very good quality of life.”

Following his surgery, Tysver said he felt “beautiful,” and hasn’t suffered any pain since. Now 88 years old, he can walk a mile without any problem and is back in the fields, driving the tractor and helping with cattle when he can.

“I had an excellent experience with Dr. Russell,” Tysver said. “I can’t think of a negative thing to say. The whole staff has been excellent, and I never had one complaint.

“I have nothing to complain about at my age.”


A Heart for the Future

Tysver is just one of the many rural North Dakotans who rely on Sanford Bismarck for expert heart services. To him, driving 70 miles for specialized care with Dr. Russell and cardiologist, Dr. Camelia Illie, is well worth the trip.

To help meet the needs of patients like Tysver and care for more hearts, close to home, the Foundation has launched a new fundraising campaign, A Heart for the Future.

Every dollar raised will help expand patient care and services within existing Sanford facilities and at the future state-of-the-art, all-inclusive heart hospital, which will be built adjacent to the existing medical center in downtown Bismarck.

With your support we can:

  • Continue to grow a team of expert physicians, specialists and caregivers.
  • Ensure more individuals have access to lifesaving care no matter where they live.
  • Enhance outreach programs throughout the state.


Giving Hearts Day

This February, American Heart Month, help care for more hearts throughout the region. Consider a gift on Giving Hearts Day, Feb. 13, to expand heart care at Sanford Bismarck.

Visit givingheartsday.org and choose “Sanford Health Foundation West.” You can schedule a gift today or visit the site on Feb. 13 to make your donation.