Recently, AHA You’re the Cure advocate Scott Kneser testified in front of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee about the importance of funding for the National Institute of Health.
But for Scott, this isn’t just an abstract issue. For Scott, NIH funding and research helped save his life. Scott has a genetic heart condition and in 2005 went to the Mayo Clinic and I had a cardiac procedure called a septal myectomy that was done in order to improve the blood flow to his heart. Doctors implanted a cardiac defibrillator inside Scott. The procedure was possible because of government funding.
Here is some of Scott’s testimony.
“My battle with heart disease began in 1982, when I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy with Mitral Valve Prolapse and a heart murmur. In layman’s terms, the main pumping chamber of my heart was enlarged and I had a valve that did not close properly. This condition caused blood to leak from my mitral valve and diminished my blood flow, creating a decrease in my activity level.In 2005, I became more symptomatic and experienced increased fatigue during normal activity, like climbing stairs. My doctors determined that I needed a type of surgery called Septal Myomectomy. During this procedure, my surgeon went through my aortic valve and carved out the enlarged section of muscle on my septum, which separates my heart’s chamber, to improve my blood flow.Also, at this time, I had an implanted cardiac defibrillator placed in my chest to regulate my irregular heartbeats that were discovered during an EKG. This amazing device, a result of your investment in the NIH, keeps me alive by regulating my heart beat. If I have more than five consecutive irregular heartbeats, the ICD “shocks” my heart back into a normal rhythm. I can even hold a magnet over my ICD, which uploads data on my heart. This data is transmitted to my cardiologist via the telephone…
Despite these advances, there is no cure for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease remains our Nation’s No. 1 killer and stroke is still the No. 3 cause of death. Thanks to NIH research, there are survivors like me. But, to bring us closer to a cure, it is critical for Congress to increase funding for NIH heart research--now at only 4% of the budget--and stroke research—still at just 1% of the budget.”
You don’t have to travel to Washington DC to be an advocate like Scott- just click this link to send a life saving message to your legislator.