Doctors Medical Center Continues to Expand Cardiology Services

May 14, 2018

First in Stanislaus County to implant device to seal hole in the heart

PFO Closure Team
Doctors Medical Center is proud to offer numerous cardiology services to the Central Valley community, allowing residents to stay close to home while receiving treatment.

DMC recently added the Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure to its cardiology program. The first case was completed on April 19 with Dr. Talwinderdeep Kahlon. Doctors Medical Center is the only hospital in Stanislaus County to offer this procedure.

“We are proud to offer this innovative, minimally-invasive technology to the Central Valley community. This allows us to treat and improve outcomes for PFO patients, and provide them with the care they need without having to travel to surrounding areas,” said Dr. Kahlon, interventional cardiologist at Valley Heart Institute of Doctors Medical Center.

Gonzalo with Dr. KahlonPFO is a small hole in the heart, typically between the upper two chambers, that did not close at birth. This opening is important prior to birth to allow oxygen-rich blood from the mother to circulate throughout the fetus. After birth, the hole forms a wall. However, for approximately 25-percent of people, the hole remains open, leaving a flap or tunnel. This can potentially allow dangerous clots to pass through the heart and up to the brain, causing a stroke. Most don’t know they have this condition until symptoms occur or they have a cryptogenic stroke (a stroke from an unknown cause).

The PFO Closure is completed in a catheterization lab and a small device is delivered to the heart through the femoral vein (groin) allowing the physician to seal the hole and reduce the risk of stroke. Before the device was implemented, the only way to close the hole was with surgery.

44-year-old Gonzalo Rivera of Los Banos was transported to Doctors Medical Center after having a stroke. Dr. Kahlon discovered he had PFO and was able to successfully complete a closure and save his life.

Not all strokes can be prevented, but being aware of risk factors and working with your physician to manage your medical conditions may reduce your risk. Factors include: high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, tobacco use, atrial fibrillation and previous heart attack.

Studies have shown that nearly half of people who suffer a cryptogenic stroke also have a PFO.

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