Durbin Discusses Congenital Heart Disease Research with Illinois Leaders & Activists

Durbin recently introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize his 2009 Congenital Heart Future Act

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Illinois constituents who have congenital heart defects, their families and their physicians who are in Washington, DC advocating for increased research funding on behalf of the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association, the Adult Congenital Heart Association, and the Children’s Heart Foundation.  Durbin recently introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize his Congenital Heart Futures Act, which expired earlier this year.  Photos from today’s meeting can be found in Senator Durbin’s Twitter feed: @SenatorDurbin.


“Every 15 minutes in America, a baby is born with a congenital heart defect.  Many of these congenital heart defects are simple and can be easily corrected.  Others are complex; some can require a lifetime of specialized medical care which can be prohibitively expensive,” said Durbin.  “I learned firsthand from Illinois constituents today that while advances have been made in the care and treatment of congenital heart defects, we can’t let up on the important federal research efforts that have gotten us this far.  Reauthorizing my Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act will continue coordination of congenital heart disease research and help those with this challenge live longer.”


The bipartisan Congenital Heart Futures Act – cosponsored by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and introduced in the House today by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) – raises awareness of the continuing impact congenital heart defects have throughout patients’ lifespans, promotes more research at NIH, and encourages the development of lifelong, specialized care for patients with a congenital heart defect.  Durbin first introduced the Congenital Heart Futures Act in 2009 with Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Zack Space (D-OH).  The bill was included in the Affordable Care Act.


Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, affecting more than 35,000 babies born each year in the United State.  Every 15 minutes a child is born with a heart defect, and initial screenings for congenital heart defects are critical for detection.  While, there is currently no cure for congenital heart defects, modern medicine has made major advances in treating heart defects in newborns.  In 1950, a child born with a congenital heart defect only had a 20% chance of surviving, but today that number has increased to 90%.  It’s estimated that more than 2 million people live with congenital heart defects.