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  • Indigenous have more cardiac conditions

    Author: AAP

Non-indigenous people who have a severe heart attack are more likely to have a hospital cardiac procedure than indigenous patients, a study shows.

Indigenous Australians continue to have higher rates of heart conditions and poorer access to cardiac health services than the rest of the population.

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But a new report shows some improvement in their cardiac care and a reduction in death rates from cardiac conditions for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

Between 2008-2012 the death rate was 212 per 100,000 people compared with 133 for non-Indigenous Australians, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report (AIHW).

And 46 per cent of indigenous people who presented to hospital with a severe heart attack had a procedure to open a blocked or narrowed artery in 2010-13.


This compares with 70 per cent for non-indigenous people.

AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman said reasons for the fewer procedures included later presentation to hospitals when the condition is more advanced or complications involving other chronic conditions such as diabetes.

In 2014 Australian governments agreed to the Better Cardiac Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People initiatives and priority actions to address the differences.

The AIHW report, released on Tuesday, is a benchmark publication to monitor changes in care over time.

It found the death rates from cardiac conditions for indigenous people fell by 41 per cent between 1998 and 2012, from 347 to 215 per 100,000 people.

Access to cardiac prevention and treatment services for indigenous people varied by state and by region.

The proportion who had a procedure after presenting to a hospital with a severe heart attack ranged from 21 per cent in the Northern Territory to 62 per cent in Western Australia, and from 29 per cent in very remote areas to 64 per cent in major cities.


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