Washington, D.C.— The Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy (CAROL) Act unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives today.  The CAROL Act passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent last week and will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

Last year, U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) introduced this legislation in the House to honor the legacy of his wife, Carol Leavell Barr, who passed away tragically from sudden cardiac death brought on by mitral valve prolapse, an underlying heart condition that causes death in .2% of cases.

“Thousands of Americans, predominately young women, lose their lives to mitral valve prolapse and other valvular heart diseases each year.  The CAROL Act invests in the innovative research that is necessary to put high risk patients on a path to living long and healthy lives.  I can’t think of a better way to honor Carol Barr, whose selflessness and service to her community and country will be furthered through the law that will bear her name,” said Congressman Barr.  “I want to thank Rep. Kathleen Rice, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema for partnering with me on this bill.  I can’t express my appreciation enough for the American Heart Association, WomenHeart, and the American College of Cardiology who endorsed this bill from day one and all the other advocacy groups that have helped champion this bill over the last year and a half.  We got it done.”

“Named after Andy’s late wife, the CAROL Act is a fitting tribute to the life and legacy of Carol Barr. This bill will prove vital in efforts to support and advance research on valvular heart disease and will help countless families who stand to benefit from the critical research that will happen because of this bill,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. “This important legislation is a testament to Andy’s tenacity through tragedy, and I look forward to the bill being signed into law.”

“Carol Barr brought a tremendous amount of joy into the lives of each person that she met.  Through his grief, Andy has found a noble way to honor his late wife – the CAROL Act.  This life-saving legislation will provide $28 million to expand research on valvular heart disease and its treatment,” said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise.  “Carol used to have a saying, ‘Just get it done.’  Today, the House of Representatives is getting it done for Carol Barr and the tens of thousands of women who suffer from valvular heart disease.”

"I am extremely proud to help lead this bill in honor of Andy’s wife, Carol, and I’m so grateful for all of our colleagues’ support today,” said Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY), the lead cosponsor of the CAROL Act.  “This bill will fund critical breakthroughs in our understanding of valvular heart disease, improve our knowledge of this poorly understood condition, and someday produce a cure.  I commend Rep. Barr and his family for their incredible strength and for turning grief into action.  It was my honor to join you on this legislation, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law by President Biden."

“There is still so much we do not know about heart valve disease, which kills approximately 25,000 people each year,” said Nancy Brown, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Heart Association.  “The American Heart Association is grateful to Congressman Barr for turning his family tragedy into a compelling movement that will benefit everyone at risk for sudden cardiac death. This critical legislation will help prevent countless other families from facing the same loss as the Barr family, and we are eager to see the bill signed into law."

“The ACC applauds Congress for passing the CAROL Act and authorizing critical funding for valvular heart disease research. Each year, valvular heart disease results in approximately 25,000 deaths in the U.S.,” said Samuel O. Jones IV, American College of Cardiology’s Health Affairs Committee Chair, MD, MPH, FACC.  The CAROL Act will play a significant role in reversing this trend by supporting the development of public health initiatives to improve awareness, diagnosis, and education for patients and clinicians.  The ACC thanks the bills' lead authors, Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), for their tireless work to pass this important legislation honoring the legacy of Rep. Barr's late wife, Eleanor "Carol" Barr, as well as for the opportunity to help craft the final version of the bill.”

“WomenHeart is thrilled to see passage of the CAROL Act, and we thank Congressman Barr for leading the way,” said Celina Gorre, CEO of WomenHeart.  “By investing in research and increasing awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of heart valve disease, as well as screening and detection efforts, the CAROL Act will help more people get diagnosed and treated for the disease.  This is especially important for women, who are more likely to be unaware that they have the condition and to go without treatment.”

The CAROL Act was also endorsed by the Adult Congenital Heart Association, the Alliance for Aging Research American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Association of Black Cardiologists, CardioVisual, Caregiver Action Network Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF), HealthyWomen, Heart Valve Voice US, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, Medical Management Associates, Inc., Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, the Society for Women's Health, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, StopAfib.org/American Foundation for Women's Health, Sustainable Cardiovascular Health Equity Development Alliance, The Marfan Foundation, The Mended Hearts. Inc., and the Women First Research Coalition.