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

Paul R's Story

Heart & Vascular Care
“Paul knew he had a bad heart valve since a heart attack in 2011. His cardiologist kept an eye on it, but last fall symptoms became worse. “I couldn’t go 20 feet without huffing and puffing,” said Paul. “I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t walk.””

Exploring the possibilities with MitraClip

Paul Remarcik of Alexandria wakes in the morning and “picks his day.” He may meet friends for coffee, stroll through his neighborhood or tend to his herb garden.

More often than not, he’ll find himself in his vehicle driving around assessing the scenery and stopping at a public access, creek or dock. “I keep my fishing gear in the jeep. If I see a spot, I might try to fish and see what happens.”

One thing Paul doesn’t leave to chance is his mitral regurgitation, a condition where the mitral valve fails to close completely, allowing blood to leak backward into the heart.

Paul knew he had a bad heart valve since a heart attack in 2011. His cardiologist kept an eye on it, but last fall symptoms became worse. “I couldn’t go 20 feet without huffing and puffing,” said Paul. “I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t walk.”

At that time, Paul was introduced to Thom Dahle, MD, one of the cardiologists at CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center who specializes in structural heart problems -- abnormalities, or defects, of the heart muscle or the heart valves that can occur at birth or later in life.

Dr. Dahle recommended MitraClip, a treatment option for those who are not candidates for surgery. In this less-invasive procedure, doctors guide a catheter through a vein in the leg to the mitral valve in the heart. A small metal clip is then attached to the mitral valve, enabling it to open and close more completely without leaking, restoring normal blood flow.

After a one-night hospital stay, Paul returned home, his symptoms vanishing.

According to Dr. Dahle, “there is nothing more rewarding that seeing patients’ improved quality of life and hearing about how they are now enjoying activities and time with loved ones.”

“Before the procedure, I changed my lifestyle quite a bit,” observed Paul. “But at 80 years old I’m amazed at what I’m doing now that I thought I could never do again. I can’t wait to see what I can do next.”