WASHINGTON, DC — The Heart Rhythm Society applauds the introduction of Senate Resolution SRES 220 which calls for the designation of September as National Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Awareness Month. The resolution reinforces the need to raise awareness and garner support for initiatives affecting AF, a condition that impacts roughly 2.2 million Americans.
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and co-sponsored by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). The Senate Resolution follows similar recent actions, namely House Resolution 255 in March 2009, which also called for National AF Awareness Month in September.
“Atrial Fibrillation is a readily treatable condition affecting the lives of millions of Americans, yet as few as 30 percent of patients receive the recommended treatment,” said Dr. Richard Page, president of the Heart Rhythm Society. “The designation of National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month is an important step forward in the assessment, treatment and prevention of AF by increasing overall public understanding and awareness.”
AF is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can severely depreciate an individual’s quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue and debilitating pain. AF can also increase the risk of stroke fourfold and is estimated to be responsible for 88,000 deaths and $16 billion in additional costs to the U.S. healthcare system.