A Finger on the Pulse: Acute Coronary Syndromes

A Finger on the Pulse: Acute Coronary Syndromes

In 2009, a report by Access Economics estimated that there was nearly 90,000 heart attack and chest pain related hospitalisations in Australia, consisting of first time and repeat events. It was expected that just under 10,000 Australians would die from heart attack, the majority before they reached the hospital. It was estimated that heart attack and unstable angina together costs the community $17.9bn, of which $1.8bn is in direct health care costs.

The symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) are hard to detect, and onset is often sudden. Due to the severity and speed of the onset of ACS symptoms, an efficient and effective treatment path is vital in reducing total deaths and preventing future cases of ACS. At present there are significant gaps in this treatment.

There are a number of barriers to achieving better outcomes for people with heart attack and unstable angina, including: late presentation at hospital; gaps in the effective management of patients in hospitals; patients discharged without appropriate medications; low uptake of cardiac rehabilitation and on-going management programs; and lack of publicly reported ACS data and quality/performance indicators.

With an ageing population, eating more and exercising less, and a rising level of diabetes and obesity, the number of people hospitalised with heart attack or chest pain could double by the year 2030 and reach almost 250,000 by 2050. Thus, ACS is becoming a key Australian health priority.

This program discusses the barriers to achieving better outcomes for people with heart attack, and what can be done to overcome them. It also discusses the treatment of Acute Coronary Syndrome, including the entire spectrum of care from the initial onset of symptoms, hospitalisation, rehabilitation and returning to work; to compliance with ongoing medication. Treatment of ACS in rural and remote areas, as well as Indigenous populations, are also discussed.

Produced by the Rural Health Education Foundation
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