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

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

What is PFO?

A foramen ovale is hole in the heart that is a normal part of fetal development. The hole usually closes and seals within a few months of birth. For about 25-33 percent of people, the hole doesn’t close completely, allowing a small amount of blood to pass from the right to left side of the heart. This is called a PFO. Most of the time PFOs do not cause any symptoms and do not require any treatment if found by accident.

When would you need a PFO closure?

While PFOs are common, in rare cases, they allow a blood clot to pass from the right to the left side of the heart. The clot can travel to the brain causing a stroke. Most strokes are caused by other conditions such as atrial fibrillation, abnormalities in blood vessels, clots on artificial valves or clotting disorders. A stroke that cannot be attributed to these or other causes is called a cryptogenic stroke. If the PFO is believed to have been a factor in cryptogenic stroke, a cardiologist might perform a PFO closure to prevent future strokes. Other treatment options include blood thinning medications or, in rare cases, surgery.

Why choose our program for PFO closures?

  • The CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center has been providing PFO closure services since 2007. Our experienced cardiologists take special interest in improving the lives of their patients.
  • Our team works cooperatively with the patient, their family and other specialists to develop a safe, effective treatment plan that provides the best outcome.

If you have questions about our program, we would be happy to assist you. Please call us at 320-293-0750 or email us.