Lawmakers Urge President Biden to Prioritize Amputation Prevention Strategies and Invest in Preventative Care to Reduce Incidence and Harm of Vascular Disease
WASHINGTON – The CardioVascular Coalition (CVC) – a coalition of physicians, care providers, advocates, and manufacturers working to improve awareness and prevention of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – today commended Members of Congress for urging President Joe Biden and his Administration to support greater efforts to prevent unnecessary amputations in the United States.
In a letter signed by 16 bipartisan lawmakers, the group highlighted the risks of untreated peripheral artery disease (PAD) which lead to amputation, an issue that disproportionately impacts communities of color. To prevent thousands of unnecessary amputations from taking place every year, the lawmakers called on President Biden to prioritize amputation prevention as a vital form of preventive care by bringing policies at both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health in line with a strategy to prevent unnecessary amputations.
The letter was organized by Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman of the Congressional PAD Caucus which was formed to educate Congress and communities about PAD while supporting legislative activities to improve PAD research, education, and treatment, with the goal of preventing non-traumatic amputations due to PAD and other related diseases.
In addition to Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., the letter was signed by Representatives Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-20), André Carson (IN-7), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-At Large), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-4), Katie Porter (CA-45), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Jenniffer González-Colón (PR-At Large), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38).
“While an estimated 200,000 Americans have their limbs surgically removed every year due to complications from peripheral artery disease – particularly in Black, Native American, and Hispanic communities – we know that preventative care and early screening can help Americans avoid amputation and live longer, healthier lives,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carr, co-founder of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS) and a member of the CVC. “We commend Representative Payne for his leadership and all the lawmakers who signed this letter for their commitment to ensuring Americans at high risk of amputation can access the preventative and interventional care they need.”
“Federal healthcare spending should incentivize preventative screenings for high-risk individuals so that PAD can be caught and treated early, before it leads to amputation and discouraging non-traumatic amputations if anatomical testing is not performed first,” the lawmakers wrote to President Biden. “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should work with providers to establish quality measures to reduce avoidable amputations. On the research side, the National Institutes of Health should work with doctors to increase awareness of PAD and PAD symptoms, which will help them quickly and accurately diagnose this disease and begin treatments.”
As many as 85% of the nation’s 200,000 non-traumatic amputations could be prevented with access to early detection and preventative testing. By screening for symptoms such as critical limb ischemia, the likelihood of an individual needing a PAD-related amputation can be reduced by up to 90%. Unfortunately, too few Americans are offered routine screening for PAD. As a result, many do not know they even have the disease until it is too late to prevent amputation. This is problem is particularly acute in communities of color. For example, Black American patients are up to four times more likely to have their limbs surgically removed than their white counterparts due to advanced peripheral artery PAD.