A hole in his heart known as PFO might have been responsible for Kris Letang's stroke, the Penguins say.
PFO, or patent foramen ovale, affects 20 to 25 percent of Americans, according to doctors. Some of the holes have a flap-like opening; others do not. All babies have the hole before they are born. After birth, the hole usually closes within 72 hours, sometimes with the first breath. "But with up to a quarter of patients, the hole doesn't close," said Dr. John Girod, a cardiologist at St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon. Even when the flap remains open, "most of the time it's of no consequence," he said. It might have been of consequence for Letang, who was diagnosed with a small hole between his heart's upper (atrial) chambers, the Penguins said. The team on Friday announced that Letang suffered a stroke, perhaps as early as Jan. 30. He missed a game in Los Angeles that night and continued to feel ill, missing Saturday's game in Phoenix. A series of tests there and in Pittsburgh confirmed the stroke. Letang is expected to miss at least six weeks.
Sat, Feb 8, 2014 11:03:00 AM