WASHINGTON, DC — The Heart Rhythm Society applauds the approval of Senate Resolution S. Res 262, which calls for the designation of September 2009 as National Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Awareness Month.
Adopted under unanimous consent by the Senate, 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).
“Atrial Fibrillation is a very common heart rhythm disorder affecting the lives of millions of Americans and when left untreated can lead to more serious health problems,” said Richard L. Page, MD, FHRS, president of the Heart Rhythm Society. “The move to establish a National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month is an important step toward increasing overall public awareness and is strongly supported by the Heart Rhythm Society.”
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.