House aims to improve a-fib care

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The U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution June 2 that aims to improve the health of those affected by atrial fibrillation (AF) by promoting enhanced awareness, treatment and diagnoses to help curb mortality. The Heart Rhythm Society and other like stakeholders have applauded the House’s efforts.

Resolution 295, put forth by Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), will work to increase treatment of the most common arrhythmia to help avoid related hospitalizations and hospital readmissions.

AF is responsible for nearly 15 percent of strokes and 529,000 hospital discharges. According to the resolution, AF costs the average patient $3,600 and equates to a total cost burden of $15.7 billion in the U.S.

“Better patient and healthcare provider education is needed for the timely recognition of atrial fibrillation symptoms,” Granger and colleagues wrote in the resolution.

Additionally, Granger et al urged the House and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to:

  • Improve quality of care by advancing outcome measures for AF;
  • Support pilots and demonstration projects that include care transitions and support services; and
  • Adopt evidence-based guidelines to improve outcomes.

Likewise the representatives urged others to advance AF research and education by developing new screening tools and protocols to determine a patients’ risk for AF and further enhance tracking systems to include AF. Lastly, the House members said that the access to care should improve for patients with AF.

In a statement, HRS president Bruce L. Wilkoff, MD, said that the society "commends Representative Granger for taking a leadership role in bringing national attention to atrial fibrillation, which impacts about 2.5 million Americans each day. We will continue to seek support for this resolution from other members of Congress in the hopes that it is passed into law, which would help to build greater awareness among patients and the public about the disease."