This glossary contains terms common to heart, stroke & vascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

additional diagnosis: a condition or complaint that either coexists with the principal diagnosis or arises during the hospitalisation. An additional diagnosis is reported if the condition affects patient management.

age-standardisation:a method of removing the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. This is usually necessary because the rates of many diseases vary strongly (usually increasing) with age. The age structures of the different populations are converted to the same ‘standard’ structure, and then the disease rates that would have occurred with that structure are calculated and compared.

arrhythmia: also known as dysrhythmia, is a fault in the heart’s electrical system, which affects its pumping rhythm. The abnormal electrical activity makes the heart muscle beat too fast, slow or in an irregular way.

associated cause(s) of death: all causes listed on the death certificate other than the underlying cause of death. They include the immediate cause, any intervening causes and conditions that contributed to the death but were not related to the disease or condition causing the death. See also cause of death.

biomedical data: biomedical or measured data―in the form of markers found during blood and urine testing―is the most accurate way to measure the prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease. In the 2011–12 Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Health Survey:

  • to detect biomedical signs of diabetes two tests were undertaken: a measure of fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and a measure of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c).
  • to identify signs of chronic kidney disease two tests were undertaken to determine kidney function (estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and kidney damage (albumin creatinine ratio (ACR)).

cause of death: the causes of death entered on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death are all diseases, morbid conditions or injuries that either resulted in or contributed to death, and the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced any such injuries. Causes of death are commonly reported by the underlying cause of death. See also associated cause(s) of death.

confidence interval (CI): a statistical term describing a range (interval) of values within which we can be 'confident' that the true value lies, usually because it has a 95% or higher chance of doing so.

dysrhythmia: see arrhythmia.

hospitalisation: refers to an episode of care for an admitted patient, which can be a total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute care to rehabilitation). The same person may have multiple hospitalisations and it is currently not possible to link records of multiple hospitalisations in the AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database to individuals and therefore to count the number of individuals being hospitalised, and their patterns of hospitalisations. There are 2 distinct types of diagnoses recorded in the database, principal diagnosis and additional diagnosis.

incidence: refers to the number of new cases of an illness, disease, or event occurring during a given period.

other Australians: includes people who did not identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, and people for whom information on their Indigenous status was not available.

prevalence: is the number or proportion of cases or instances of a disease or illness present in a population at a given time. The prevalence of disease is related to both the incidence of the disease and how long people live after developing it (survival).

principal diagnosis: the diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning the patients hospitalisation.

procedure: a clinical intervention that is surgical in nature, carries a procedural risk, carries an anaesthetic risk, requires specialised training and/or requires special facilities or equipment available only in an acute-care setting.

self-reported: self-reported data rely on survey participants being aware of, and accurately reporting, their health status and health conditions, which is not as accurate as data based on clinical records or measured data. As some people may not be aware that they have the condition estimates based on self-reported data, especially for conditions such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease, may underestimate the prevalence of these diseases. People also underestimate their weight yet overestimate their height, which are used to calculate body mass index for the assessment of overweight and obesity. Measured data are, therefore, more reliable in such instances.

socioeconomic groups: is an indication of how 'well off' a person or group is. Socioeconomic groups are reported using the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), whereby areas are classified on the basis of social and economic information (such as low income, low educational attainment, high levels of public sector housing, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations) collected in the Census of Population and Housing. Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, are divided into 5 groups, from the most disadvantaged (worst off) to the least disadvantaged (best off). Note, that this index refers to the average disadvantage of all people living in an area, not to the level of disadvantage of a specific individual.

remoteness: a system which classifies geographical locations into groups (Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote, Very remote) according to distance from major population centres and services. In these analysis, remoteness is based on Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) and defined as Remoteness Areas by the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) (in each Census year). Remoteness is a geographical concept and does not take account of accessibility which is influenced by factors such as the socioeconomic status or mobility of a population.

underlying cause of death: the disease or injury that initiated the sequence of events leading directly to death; that is the primary or main cause. For each death, only a single underlying cause is selected from among all the conditions reported on a death certificate.