Video Interview: Sen. Bill Frist, MD, Talks About AF Stat™: A Call to Action for Atrial Fibrillation

September 23, 2009 5:21 AM CT

Recently, Mellanie True Hills had the opportunity to visit with The Honorable William H. Frist, MD, Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, heart and lung transplant surgeon, and AF Stat Policy Advisor.

Dr. Frist took a moment to record an overview of the importance of AF Stat for afib patients and their families. He also gave us a “scoop” on his new book, A Heart to Serve.

View the video

About The Honorable William H. Frist, MD

His new book, A Heart to Serve

About the reports released by AF Stat

About AF Stat: A Call to Action for Atrial Fibrillation

Video Transcript:

Mellanie True Hills: This is Mellanie True Hills for I have the pleasure of being here with Dr., and Former Senator, Bill Frist. He was the Senate Majority Leader. He’s also a cardiothoracic surgeon, and he’s very knowledgeable about atrial fibrillation. We are at the AF Stat Call to Action for Atrial Fibrillation. We’ve just finished the webcast, and Dr. Frist said that he would share a few words about AF Stat for the benefit of patients, and then I have another question for him after he talks about that.

Dr. Frist: It is so great to be with you, and have a chance to share a few thoughts with all of your friends on a very important issue, and that is atrial fibrillation, something that I know everybody listening and watching right now know a lot about.

This particular initiative is very exciting. We’ve pulled together about 24 different organizations, all of whom are focused on how to improve our understanding of atrial fibrillation, to clear up all the myths to make information more accessible and also more understandable so that doctors and nurses will know more, so patients will know more, and so we can improve the lives of so many people, and families of people, with atrial fibrillation.

So we had a great conference today, a webinar. We were able to talk with hundreds or thousands of people all over the country who had questions about atrial fibrillation. These 24 organzations are experts, and in many cases they have not come together so just imagine the synergies, all the energy, all the understanding, and all the intelligence all focused on how to improve our understanding of atrial fibrillation, its treatment, its diagnosis, and its management over time. So we had a great day.

MTH: Excellent. So Dr. Frist, thank you! And I think those who are seeing this video will be interested to know that you have a new book coming out in just a couple of weeks, so would you be willing to tell us about it?

Dr. Frist: Well, it is coming out, the actual publication date is October 5th, so you’re getting a real preview of the book, because I haven’t started doing interviews, in fact I won’t do the first one until October 4th, except for this one.

MTH: Ahh, scoop!

Dr. Frist: The book is called A Heart to Serve, and the title kind of gives away what the themes are and the stories are in the book. You can go to Amazon right now, and you can order it, and it will be delivered in about a week. It’s called A Heart to Serve. The subtitle helps a little bit more, it’s “The Passion for Health, Hope, and Healing.” The whole book is a series of stories of how I linked together this commitment to healing in all sorts of ways, and some crazy ways, as I spell out in the book.

For example, people get the fact that I’m a physician, that I’ve done hundreds of heart and lung transplants, thousands and thousands of regular heart operations, valve operations, and bypass procedures. They get that, but then this whole idea of a passion to serve, healing in the United States Congress, people say you’re crazy. But indeed, I went to the United States Congress, and instead of looking at the health of individuals, I looked at the health of communities, the health of states, the health of countries, and the health of the global community. That’s what a United States Senator does.

So in the book I link this health of the individual, being a doctor, with health of a community or a state, being a political figure, and then it evolves in the final couple of chapters into what I’m doing now. And it is again looking at the health of individuals, and giving them hope for the future, like with AF Stat and atrial fibrillation, that we were talking about today. But in two weeks I’ll be meeting with the President of Rwanda, the President of the United States, the former President of the United States, the President of Nigeria, and two weeks ago I was in China looking at the health of the global community.

MTH: Wow. It sounds like it’ll be a fascinating book, and I’m particularly interested in your perspective from the Senate, having spent a lot of time in the last few months on Capitol Hill to drum up support for Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. Your book sounds wonderful, and I’m looking forward to it. Dr. Frist, thank you so much for taking time to share with the atrial fibrillation community. For, this is Mellanie True Hills.