This report provides details of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) performed in Australia in 1999. It covers patterns and trends in the use of the technique, as well as in its indications, complications and success rates.

The main findings of the report are:

  • During 1999 there were 19,444 coronary angioplasty procedures performed in Australia, with an average of 341 procedures per interventional cardiology unit.
  • Coronary angioplasty procedures in 1999 increased by 7% from 1998. This compares with 14% increase between 1997 and 1998 and 15% increase between 1996 and 1997.
  • The age-standardised national average PTCA rate in 1999 was 946 per million population. This varied across the Australian States, from 760 per million population in Queensland to 1,147 per million population in Victoria.
  • Angioplasty procedures are nearly three times as common in males than females. This is consistent with difference in rates of coronary heart disease between males and females.
  • Patients undergoing angioplasty are likely to be between 50 and 79 years old (82%).
  • A total of 122 physicians were operating in 57 interventional cardiology units throughout the country in 1999, an increase of 14% and 24%, respectively from 1998.
  • There were 19,197 hospitalisations involving PTCA procedures, with an average length of stay of 3.8 days.
  • Twenty per cent of the procedures were repeats, and in 45% of such cases these repeats occurred within 12 months.
  • The main indications for PTCA were stable angina pectoris (42%) and unstable angina pectoris (42%). Acute myocardial infarction (9%) is becoming a significant indication.
  • Thirteen per cent of procedures were done on patients with previous coronary artery bypass grafts.
  • Thrombolytic therapy was used before angioplasty in 11% of procedures.
  • Stents were inserted in 92% of PTCA patients in 1999.
  • Complication rates associated with coronary angioplasty were: need for coronary artery bypass graft 1.0%, myocardial infarction 1.2%, arterial complications 0.7%, death 0.8%.
  • Coronary angioplasty achieved an adequate reduction in the lesion in 95% of lesions attempted.
  • Ninety-six per cent of patients treated were discharged from hospital with a successful reduction of lesions and no angina or complications.