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Facts & Figures

The burden of Heart Disease

Heart disease accounts for greater morbidity in Australia than any other disease state and 20 per cent of all deaths.

Every year about 75 000 Australians have a heart attack. In the year following this, about one in five or 16 000 return with a repeat event.

As a proportion, females will account for around 52% of repeat heart attack deaths.

The number of repeat events is likely to increase by more than 40 per cent by 2020.

Compelling evidence shows that repeat events can be halved by effective Secondary Prevention Care. This includes the use of preventative medicines and lifestyle modification.

However, only 50 per cent of patients take secondary prevention medicines or adhere to lifestyle recommendations, according to Australian surveys. Only one in three people access a prevention program.

 

The costs

Heart disease costs Australia over $18 billion per year – more than any other disease group. Half of this is attributable to repeat events, with this cost expected to increase to $11.8 billion by 2020.

26 000 hospitalisations were due to repeat coronary events in 2010. This cost Australia $613 million in direct health care costs and $961 million in indirect economic losses – a total of $1.57 billion.

Use of evidence-based secondary prevention care would reduce repeat events by approximately $300 million in direct health care costs and approximately $300 million in  indirect health care costs – a total of $600 million each year.

 


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2009. Impact of falling cardiovascular disease death rates: deaths delayed and years of life extended. Bulletin no.70. Cat.no. AUS113. Canberra: AIHW
  2. Deloitte Access Economics. ACS in perspective. The importance of secondary prevention. 2011.
  3. Redfern J, Chow C. Secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in Australia: a blueprint for reform. MJA 2013:198:70-71
  4. Clark AM, Hartling L, Vandermeer B, et al. Meta-Analysis: Secondary Prevention Programs for Patients with Coronary Artery Disease. Ann Intern Med 2005; 143:659-72
  5. Rasmussen JN, Chomng A, Alter DA. Relationship between adherence to evidence-based pharmacotherapy and long-term mortality after acute myocardial infarction. JAMA 2007;297(2):177-86
  6. Heeley EL, Peiris DP, Patel AA, Cass A, Weekes A, Morgan C, et al. Cardiovascular risk perception and evidence – practice gaps in Australian general practice (the AusHEART study). Medical Journal of Australia,2010;192(5):254-9.