More than 100 major heart procedures performed every day, says report

The number of coronary revascularisation procedures performed in Australian hospitals has increased from 16,000 to more than 38,000 over the last decade, an average of more than 100 every day, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Revascularisation involves two main types of procedures to overcome blockages in the heart's own blood vessels and restore an adequate supply: coronary angioplasty with stenting and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

The report, Coronary Revascularisation in Australia, 2000, shows that these types of heart procedures have increased by about 30% over the last decade-34% for women and 28% for men, primarily due to the doubling of rates for angioplasty and coronary stenting.

Rates for CABG, which is more invasive than angioplasty as it requires opening of a patient's chest, have fallen by about 12%.

Author of the report, Joanne Davies, said revascularisation procedures are three times as common in men as it is in women.

'Angioplasty procedures are also increasingly being used to treat older patients--particularly those aged 75 years and over-and can be used in the early treatment of heart attacks.'

The Heart Foundation's Director of Health, Medical and Scientific Affairs, Professor Andrew Tonkin, said that coronary revasculisation procedures were one of the 'great recent advances against Australia's biggest epidemic'.

'Heart disease mainly affects middle-aged and older Australians with most hospital admissions for heart attack and cardiac procedures occurring among men and women aged 60 years and over,' Professor Tonkin said.

There has been a substantial increase in the share of angioplasty procedures undertaken in private hospitals-much larger than for CABG operations.

27 August 2003


Further information: Ms Joanne Davies, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1067 or 0413 226 669; Professor Andrew Tonkin, NHF, contact Donna Le Page tel. 0412 797 937 (mobile)
Media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1032