Bilirakis Bill Supports Research into Congenital Heart Disease
A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis that addresses the need for further research into congenital heart disease has passed in the House of Representatives. Now it goes to the U.S. Senate.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, passed the House of Representatives on Monday (Feb. 26) night.
The legislation addresses the need to invest in continued research to assist the millions of Americans living with congenital heart disease.
It is estimated that there are between 2 million to 3 million adults and children living in the U.S. with CHD, and nearly one in every 100 babies are born with a CHD. About 5 percent of these babies will not live to see their first birthdays. However, because of recent advancements in technology, CHD patients are surviving longer.
Bilirakis said this legislation seeks to build upon that success by ensuring continued investment in surveillance research to assess the lifelong needs of individuals with CHD. These surveillance efforts will help improve understanding of CHD across the lifespan, from birth to adulthood.
In addition, the legislation emphasizes the need for continued biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CHD. NIH will further research the causes of congenital heart defects, including genetic causes, and study long-term outcomes in individuals with CHD of all ages. NIH will also study data to identify effective treatments and outcomes, and identify barriers to lifelong care for individuals with congenital heart defects.
CHD is a true public health issue that does not discriminate by race, gender, or socioeconomic status, Bilirakis said. The road ahead may be scary and uncertain for any parent with a newborn who has CHD, but this legislation gives hope to those coping with the diagnosis.
It will also expand the infrastructure to track the epidemiology of congenital heart defects. Bilirakis said he remains committed to making this a priority for the sake of those living with CHD and the estimated 40,000 babies who will be born in the next year with CHD. Research is key to understanding the causes of CHD, preventing it and improving treatment. The near unanimous passage of the bill, he said, will improve the care of people with CHD at all ages and advance the field in critical areas.
“Better data leads to better research.This bi-partisan initiative is about giving hope to families who have suffered and improving the quality of life for millions of Americans by investing in life-saving research. I urge my Senate colleagues to do the right thing on behalf of sick kids and join me in this fight by sending the bill to the President’s desk as quickly as possible,” Bilirakis said.
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
For information about Bilirakis, go to bilirakis.house.gov.
Gus Bilirakis | Health | Congenital Heart Disease | Politics | Tampabay News
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