COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Marcy's Story

Heart & Vascular Care
“When Marcy was discharged, her heart was working at 20 percent of its capacity due to damage from the heart attacks (normal capacity is about 65 percent). Because of her high risk of heart rhythm problems, she was required to wear a defibrillator to monitor her heart rhythm day and night for the next two months. The vest would “shock” her if she were to develop a life threatening rhythm.”

Top 50 Heart Hospital cares for Cold Spring woman with rare heart condition
After returning to Cold Spring from a relaxing weekend trip to Duluth on Nov. 9, 2014, Marcy Schleper, 50, was unpacking when the room started to spin and she felt a crushing chest pain. As the pain worsened, she told her husband, Dan, to call 911. Marcy was having a heart attack.

At St. Cloud Hospital, an angiogram revealed that Marcy’s arteries were clear. She was started on blood-thinning therapy and admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit.

The next day, an echocardiogram was done to check the damage the heart attack had caused. This test uncovered a rare, blueberry-sized tumor or myxoma that intermittently blocked the flow of blood from Marcy’s aorta to her left coronary artery. It would require surgery to remove. Although Marcy’s condition stabilized, she had received a medicine for preventing blood clots which put her at risk for bleeding during surgery. The team planned to wait five days for the drugs to wash out of her system and for her body to produce new platelets.

Several days later, Marcy experienced a second heart attack, which prompted Cardiovascular Surgeon John Castro, MD, and team to proceed with open heart surgery immediately.

“Of all the places the myxoma could have grown on her heart, it just happened to be in a bad spot,” Dr. Castro said. “It really was a one-in-two-million chance.”

Marcy spent the next week in the hospital. “Day after day I witnessed remarkable teamwork and professionalism of all the doctors and staff,” she said. “They helped me understand what my options were and explained what they were doing.”

When Marcy was discharged, her heart was working at 20 percent of its capacity due to damage from the heart attacks (normal capacity is about 65 percent). Because of her high risk of heart rhythm problems, she was required to wear a defibrillator to monitor her heart rhythm day and night for the next two months. The vest would “shock” her if she were to develop a life threatening rhythm.

Marcy participated in physical therapy followed by cardiac rehabilitation helping her to get her strength back. After a follow-up appointment with Cardiologist Jamie Pelzel, MD, in mid-January, Marcy had a defibrillator implanted due to her increased risk of heart failure.“If Marcy develops symptoms of heart failure in the future, we have the resources to help her,” Dr. Pelzel said.

“I am very lucky to live so close to one of the 50 Top Heart Hospitals in the nation with the skill and expertise to handle such a rare condition,” Marcy said.

As Marcy (and the Minnesota weather) continues to improve, she looks forward to long walks, golfing with friends and anything to do with her husband and 9-year-old son, Owen.