Senators’ bipartisan bill advances medical research, diagnostic, and treatment options for Arizonans living with valvular heart disease
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate HELP Committee cleared bipartisan legislation championed by Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) that creates a grant program to conduct research on valvular heart disease – a rare heart condition that can lead to sudden cardiac failure and death.
“We’re fueling medical research and improving diagnostic and treatment options for Arizonans living with valvular heart disease – and I’m proud to count on Republican Leader McConnell as a partner in moving our legislation closer to becoming law. Congressman Barr led this bill in honor of his late wife Carol, to ensure future families do not face the same loss,” said Sinema.
“Carol Barr dedicated her life to making a positive difference in her community and serving others. The CAROL Act is a fitting tribute to her wonderful legacy and supports significant federal resources to prevent future families from enduring the sudden, tragic loss of a loved one. I applaud Congressman Barr for leading this legislation and was proud to stand by his side to help lead it successfully out of committee,” said McConnell.
“The Carol Act will save lives by targeting investments in research to treat valvular heart diseases. Over 25,000 Americans die each year from these diseases. We can and we must do better. I appreciate the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee for passing this bill through Committee to the full Senate. I thank Leader McConnell and Senator Sinema for leading the CAROL Act in the U.S. Senate. I am forever grateful for the extraordinary life of Carol Barr, an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend whose legacy continues to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” said Barr.
Republican Congressman Andy Barr (Ky.) introduced the House companion with Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY) in honor of his wife Carol, who passed from sudden cardiac death due to valvular heart disease in June 2020.
The CAROL Act creates a grant program through the National Institutes of Health, in coordination with the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, to conduct research on valvular heart disease and could help identify those at high risk of sudden cardiac arrest. This type of longitudinal population research is necessary to fill knowledge gaps and develop risk and screening criteria to better inform early intervention and treatment plans.
In addition to creating a research grant, Sinema’s bipartisan CAROL Act instructs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to carry out programs increasing awareness and reduce incidences of death. The bipartisan legislation requires entities collecting information and research to submit their findings to CDC. The CDC in turn will publish best practices for doctors and other health care providers who provide care to individuals with valvular disease.
Sinema is one of the co-founders of the bipartisan and bicameral Personalized Medicine Caucus, that focuses on early disease detection, targeted medical treatment, and improved prevention strategies for Arizona patients.