American Heart Association applauds introduction of House bill to help treat stroke, the nation's No. 3 killer

American Heart Association
Friday, 12 December 2003

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week will help ensure that stroke, the nation's No. 3 killer, is more widely recognized by the public and is treated effectively by health care providers.

The Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act of 2003 (STOP Stroke Act, H.R.3658,) was introduced on December 8 by Representatives Charles "Chip" Pickering, Jr., R-Miss., and Lois Capps, D-Calif. The bill will help raise public awareness about stroke and provide critical resources for states to help ensure that stroke patients receive quality care. Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., in late November.

"Stroke is a true medical emergency and should be treated as one by both the public and healthcare professionals," said Larry B. Goldstein, M.D., chair of the American Stroke Association Advisory Committee and director of the Duke University Center for Cerebrovascular Disease. "This bill will help ensure that those who suffer a stroke recognize the symptoms, get to the hospital rapidly, and are treated as quickly as possible with the most appropriate therapy. The American Heart Association and its division the American Stroke Association commend Representatives Pickering and Capps for recognizing the urgency with which stroke must be addressed and taking action to reduce the toll it takes on our nation."

The STOP Stroke Act, which recognizes the importance of prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation, will provide resources to ensure that the public has greater awareness of the disease, that emergency medical personnel and health care professionals are trained to recognize its signs and symptoms, and that hospitals are equipped to provide the most effective care.

Stroke, which is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain due to a clogged blood vessel or bleeding from a ruptured blood vessel, strikes about 700,000 Americans each year and nearly 170,000 die annually. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; and every 3 minutes, someone dies from one.

"We urge both the House and Senate to pass this legislation early next session, and provide Americans with the stroke care and treatment they deserve," said Dr. Goldstein.

For more information, or to contact American Heart Association, see their website at: www.americanheart.org

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