Two new reports in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Cardiovascular Disease Series (CVD) provide details about specific heart treatments for the latest years for which data are available.
Coronary Angioplasty in Australia 1995 and Cardiac Surgery in Australia 1994 have been produced jointly by the AIHW and the National Heart Foundation. The reports are the first to be published in a new series tracking cardiac procedures in Australia since the mid-1990s when the advent of new techniques introduced significant changes in practice.
Coronary Angioplasty in Australia 1995 covers patterns and trends in the use of the percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty technique-commonly known as coronary angioplasty or PTCA-as well as its indications, complications and success rates.
The report's author, Ms Susana Senes-Ferrari, said there were over 11,000 coronary angioplasty procedures in Australia in 1995, 17% more than the previous year.
'An interesting finding is that over the 3 years to 1995 there was an almost 10 fold increase in the use of stents-metal mesh tubes used to keep the arteries open. They were inserted in 30% of procedures in 1995.'
Stable angina and unstable angina remain the main indications for coronary angioplasty, but the report shows heart attacks are also becoming a significant indication for the treatment.
The treatment is generally successful, with over 70% of patients treated in 1995 being discharged from hospital with an adequate reduction of all lesions and no angina or complications.
Cardiac Surgery in Australia 1994 covers patterns and trends in the use of different heart surgery procedures for acquired and congenital conditions, and associated deaths. It shows that more than 19,000 cardiac surgery procedures were performed in 1994, a 2.5% increase over the previous year.
The national average rate for coronary artery bypass graft surgery was 837 per million population, with the rates varying across the States from 707 per million in Tasmania to just over 1,000 per million in South Australia.
This report also shows that over 100 people received new hearts in Australia in 1994. This included 14 combined heart/lung transplants. There were 41 lung transplants that year.
The AIHW medical adviser, Dr Paul Magnus, said the two reports would be of great interest to cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, hospital planners, pharmaceutical and equipment manufacturers, policy advisers and researchers.