SENATE RESOLUTION 243--PROMOTING INCREASED AWARENESS, DIAGNOSIS, AND TREATMENT OF ATRIAL FIBRILLATION TO ADDRESS THE HIGH MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY RATES AND TO PREVENT AVOIDABLE HOSPITALIZATIONS...; Congressional Record Vol. 157, No. 116
(Senate - July 29, 2011)

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[Pages S5077-S5078]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




 SENATE RESOLUTION 243--PROMOTING INCREASED AWARENESS, DIAGNOSIS, AND 
  TREATMENT OF ATRIAL FIBRILLATION TO ADDRESS THE HIGH MORBIDITY AND 
 MORTALITY RATES AND TO PREVENT AVOIDABLE HOSPITALIZATIONS ASSOCIATED 
                            WITH THE DISEASE

  Mr. CRAPO (for himself, Mr. Casey, Mr. Inouye, Mr. Akaka, Mr. Rubio, 
and Mr. Toomey) submitted the following resolution; which was 
considered and agreed to:

                              S. Res. 243

       Whereas atrial fibrillation is a cardiac condition that 
     results when the usual coordinated electrical activity in the 
     atria of the heart becomes disorganized and chaotic, 
     hampering the ability of the atria to fill the ventricles 
     with blood, and allowing blood to pool in the atria and form 
     clots;
       Whereas an estimated 2,500,000 people in the United States 
     are living with atrial fibrillation, the most common 
     ``serious'' heart rhythm abnormality that occurs in people 
     older than 65 years of age;
       Whereas atrial fibrillation is associated with an increased 
     long-term risk of stroke, heart failure, and all-cause 
     mortality, especially among women;
       Whereas people older than 40 years of age have a 1-in-4 
     risk of developing atrial fibrillation in their lifetime;
       Whereas an estimated 15 percent of strokes are the result 
     of untreated atrial fibrillation, a condition that 
     dramatically increases the risk of stroke to approximately 5 
     times more than the general population;
       Whereas atrial fibrillation accounts for approximately 
     529,000 hospital discharges annually;
       Whereas atrial fibrillation costs an estimated $3,600 per 
     patient for a total cost burden in the United States of 
     $15,700,000,000;
       Whereas better patient and health care provider education 
     is needed for the timely recognition of atrial fibrillation 
     symptoms;
       Whereas an electrocardiogram is an effective and risk-free 
     screen for heart rhythm irregularities and can be part of a 
     routine preventive exam;
       Whereas there is a dearth of outcome performance measures 
     that focus on the management of atrial fibrillation; and
       Whereas evidence-based care guidelines improve patient 
     outcomes and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations for 
     individuals with undiagnosed atrial fibrillation and for 
     patients once atrial fibrillation is detected: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the 
     Secretary of Health and Human Services should work with 
     leaders in the medical community to explore ways to improve 
     medical research, screening and prevention methods, and 
     surveillance efforts in order to prevent and appropriately 
     manage atrial fibrillation, including by--
       (1) advancing the development of process and outcome 
     measures for the management of atrial fibrillation by 
     national developers;
       (2) facilitating the adoption of evidence-based guidelines 
     by the medical community to improve patient outcomes;
       (3) advancing atrial fibrillation research and education 
     by--
       (A) encouraging basic science research to determine the 
     causes and optimal treatments for atrial fibrillation;
       (B) exploring development of screening tools and protocols 
     to determine the risk of developing atrial fibrillation; and
       (C) enhancing current surveillance and tracking systems to 
     include atrial fibrillation; and

[[Page S5078]]

       (4) improving access to appropriate medical care for 
     patients suffering from atrial fibrillation by encouraging 
     education programs that promote collaboration among the 
     Federal health agencies and that increase public and 
     clinician awareness of atrial fibrillation, including risk 
     assessment, screening, treatment, and appropriate clinical 
     management.

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