This report provides analysis of RFDS aeromedical transport data for the period July 2013 to December 2016. This analysis revealed:
- An average of 112 patients per week or 16 patients per day were transported for CVD;
- On average, per day, 10.1 (63%) were male and 5.9 (37%) were female, a ratio of 1.7 males for every female;
- All age groups were represented; the mean age group was 55–59 years, more than one-third (35.3%) were aged 60–74 years, and 1% were children under the age of 5 years.
More than half (52.5%) of all CVD transports were for CHD. The two main CHDs that lead to a patient requiring an aeromedical transport were ‘acute myocardial infarction’ (heart attack) (38.9%) and ‘angina pectoris’ (angina) (9.4%). Almost one-quarter (22.2%) of CVD transports were for patients experiencing other forms of heart disease; the two main other forms of heart disease were ‘heart failure’ (4.6%) and ‘atrial fibrillation and flutter’ (4.0%).
This report’s purpose is to detail the CVD burden on remote and rural Australia, and to propose action to ameliorate CVD impacts. Many CVD events are preventable. Increased investment in, and access to, evidence-based, culturally appropriate prevention and early intervention for people at increased risk of CVD, and those who have experienced a CVD event, is required.
Similarly, better treatment options for remote and rural Australians are also required. For example, between 2001 and 2008 the South Australian integrated Cardiovascular Clinical Network (iCCNet) established a support program for remote and rural primary care services to manage heart attacks by providing expert risk stratification, point-of-care troponin testing and cardiologist-supported decision making. The program’s evaluation demonstrated a 22% improvement in 30-day survival rates for remote and rural patients, which closed the mortality disparity that had previously existed between city and country hospitals.