Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

First-Ever Cardiomyopathy Legislation Introduced to Senate

February 17, 2012

Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation Endorses Bill To Identify Students At Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

TENAFLY, N.J., Feb. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced today during National Heart Month the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act to the Senate. This life-saving legislation focuses on increasing awareness of cardiomyopathy and the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) among parents, schools and health professionals.

Since the introduction of the HEARTS House bill in December 2011, the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF) has been actively working with the New Jersey Senators to introduce this companion bill in the Senate. Cardiomyopathy is a chronic heart disease where the heart becomes abnormally enlarged, thickened or stiffened. Lisa Yue, a mother who lost two children to the disease, founded CCF, a national organization dedicated to research, education and awareness of all forms of cardiomyopathy in children.

An estimated 30,000 children in the United States are living with this chronic heart condition, and it is believed that for every diagnosed child, there is likely another undiagnosed child at risk of sudden cardiac death. “Cardiomyopathy is difficult to detect without symptoms, and it is the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in children and young adults,” commented Lisa Yue, president and founder of CCF. “By providing educational materials on cardiomyopathy to families and schools, this legislation can help to identify more at-risk children so they can get properly diagnosed and treated before they fall victim to sudden cardiac death.”

The HEARTS Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and national patient advocacy and health professional organizations to develop educational materials and resources for public awareness — covering the symptoms of cardiomyopathy, risk assessment, training in lifesaving procedures, and development and implementation of a cardiac emergency response plan — and disseminate them to schools and families as well as post them on the CDC website. The HEARTS Act will encourage schools to be aware of and prepared for a cardiac emergency, and also will encourage families to evaluate their family’s cardiac history, check for cardiomyopathy symptoms and seek medical screening if necessary.

“I am extremely pleased that CCF has contributed to moving this legislation forward,” said Lisa Yue. “We thank Senators Menendez and Lautenberg for making this a national priority and for recognizing the legislation’s potential to save the lives of many children.”

CCF also worked in partnership with Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) on the House version of the HEARTS bill, which Congressman Pallone introduced late last year in the U.S. House of Representatives. To date, the House bill has the bipartisan support of six co-sponsors and is endorsed by more than 21 national health organizations including the American Heart Association and members of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Coalition.

About The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation
The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to finding causes and cures for pediatric cardiomyopathy. CCF started in 2002 with one family’s determination to call attention to this poorly understood heart disease and to take action on the lack of medical progress and public awareness. Since then, CCF has committed more than $1.7 million to research and treatment initiatives, and grown into a global community of families, physicians and scientists focused on improving diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for children with cardiomyopathy.

SOURCE Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation

Source: PR Newswire