Health Snapshot of heart failure in Australia

Snapshot of heart failure in Australia

Australians do not have equal risk of developing heart failure, according to a new report that provides a more accurate picture of the risk in different areas of Australia.

Led by the Australian Catholic University’s Professor Simon Stewart, the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research report Snapshot of Heart Failure in Australia found that the likelihood of heart failure in the Northern Territory is 157 per cent higher than the national average, while the state with the lowest level of risk is Western Australia.

Over all, the report reveals that more than half a million Australians suffer heart failure each year. This results in more than 60,000 deaths, more than a million days of hospital stay, and around $2 billion in hospital care. The researchers say that around one third of those hospital admissions are preventable.

Even factoring in the reality of inequality in health and health outcomes, living in regional or rural areas carries an elevated risk. In all capital cities except Hobart, the risk is lower than in the regional areas of that state.

For example, the report predicts that the number of heart failure cases in Sydney as a percentage of population is likely to be lower than the national average, but for the rest of the state the risk is rated high to very high.

The researchers used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the National Heart Foundation of Australia, along with their own estimates to produce regional-specific figures to reflect likely variations in the pattern of heart failure across the country.

In Northern Territory, where cardiovascular disease prevalence estimates were not available, all adjustments were based on the heart failure admissions data.

Find a link to the Snapshot report here. Story credit: Australian Catholic University newsroom.

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