Paulsen Introduces PAD Resolution in Congress

Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) today introduced historic legislation to address the critical national health problem of peripheral arterial disease, also known as P.A.D.

Most Americans know the dangers of clogged chest arteries, but few are aware that clogged leg arteries are just as dangerous.  Known as peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.), clogged leg arteries markedly increases one’s risk of heart attack, stroke, amputation, and death. Although millions of Americans have P.A.D., it unfortunately receives little attention.

Representative Paulsen hopes to change this by the introduction of the P.A.D. resolution today.  The resolution serves as a “Call to Action” that encourages government agencies, health care organizations, professional societies, health systems, and clinicians to take actions to improve the diagnosis and treatment of P.A.D.

“Nine million Americans have P.A.D. including approximately 275,000 Minnesotans,” said Representative Paulsen.  “We have made great strides in reducing the burden of heart disease in America, and addressing P.A.D is a critical part of the solution.”

Increasing the number of Medicare beneficiaries tested for P.A.D. is one of the issues highlighted in the resolution.  Medicare beneficiaries are at significantly higher risk for developing P.A.D., yet most do not have access to a simple, risk-free, inexpensive, and noninvasive test to diagnose P.A.D., the ankle-brachial index (ABI).

“Improving public awareness of P.A.D., access to diagnostic testing, and initiation of preventative care offers the greatest opportunity to improve the nation’s cardiovascular health, at a cost we can afford,” said Alan T. Hirsch, MD, P.A.D. Coalition founding chair and Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

“By ensuring access to P.A.D. testing in those at highest risk for having the disease and providing treatment according to national cardiovascular guidelines,” said Dr. Hirsh, “we can reduce heart attacks, stroke and deaths. We can no longer afford not to detect early arterial disease before mortal and costly events occur.”

The P.A.D. Resolution offers specific recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Food and Drug Administration.

“Millions of Americans and their families greatly appreciate Congressman Paulsen’s leadership on this important public health issue,” said Dr. Hirsch, “And the nation’s vascular leadership, the PAD Coalition, the Vascular Disease Foundation, and cardiovascular health professionals look forward to working with him and our government agencies to collaboratively address this problem in Minnesota and across the nation.”

The Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) Coalition is an alliance of more than 80 leading health organizations, vascular health professional societies that have united to raise public and health professional awareness about lower extremity P.A.D. Committed to improving P.A.D. patient outcomes, the P.A.D. Coalition is coordinated by the Vascular Disease Foundation, a national, not-for-profit section 501(c)(3) organization.

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