The Heart Foundation is urging policymakers, clinicians and government to act on new guidelines to improve access to care and prevent heart attacks.
The Australian Acute Coronary Syndrome Capability Framework is the first document of its kind in Australia, says the Foundation. It outlines health system requirements needed to deliver evidence-based care for people experiencing a heart attack, regardless of where they live in Australia.
It was launched on Saturday by National Heart Foundation cardiologist, Prof David Brieger and Dr Karen Page at the 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne.
Dr Page says in Australia, there is 55,000 heart attacks each year or one every 10 minutes, and many people are not receiving the best available care.
“This Framework highlights ways to improve access to best care and potentially save lives,” she says.
“Heart muscle can be saved by ensuring people [get] access to the right care when they present with a heart attack.”
ACS represents a broad spectrum of clinical presentations, from ST elevation myocardial infarction through to an accelerated pattern of angina, without evidence of tissue death. These diverse clinical syndromes are known to share the common underlying pathophysiology of atherosclerosis.
Prof Brieger says optimal patient outcomes depend on rapid diagnosis, accurate risk stratification and the effective implementation of proven therapies and treatment strategies.
While there have been “considerable” efforts to improve the quality of ACS care, says Prof Brieger, clinical audits demonstrate that many people don’t receive evidence-based care. This Framework will help to address these issues.
Of great concern is care for heart attack patients is inconsistent and differs depending on who they are and they live, he says.
“It’s not good enough… We need to ensure that people are provided with as clearer path as possible to avoid repeat heart attacks,” Brieger says.
The aim of the Framework is to provide a set of minimum clinical service recommendations. It is inclusive of ambulance and retrieval services, recognising their integral role in the provision of timely ACS care.