This report was prepared within the National Centre for Monitoring Cardiovascular Disease at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It aims to provide details of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) as performed in Australia in 1995. The report 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 1995 there were 11,348 coronary angioplasty procedures performed in Australia, with an average of 291 procedures per unit.
  • Coronary angioplasty procedures increased by 17% in 1995 compared with the previous year.
  • The average national rate was 629 per million population. This varies widely across States, from 403 per million population in Queensland to 875 per million population in Western Australia.
  • A total of 95 physicians were operating in 39 Interventional Cardiac Laboratories throughout the country.
  • Twenty-one per cent of the procedures were repeats, and in 59% of such cases these repeats occurred within the same year. In 69% of those cases which involved intervention more than once in 1995, repeat procedures were to the same lesion.
  • The main indications for PTCA were stable angina pectoris (46%) and unstable angina pectoris (43%). Acute myocardial infarction (8%) is emerging as another significant indication.
  • Twelve per cent of procedures were done on patients with previous coronary artery bypass grafts.
  • Thrombolytic therapy was used before angioplasty in 5% of procedures.
  • Stents were inserted in 30% of PTCA procedures in 1995. This represents a 175% increase over their use in the previous year.
  • Complication rates associated with coronary angioplasty were as follows: need for coronary artery bypass graft 2.5%, myocardial infarction 1.5%, arterial complications 1%, mortality 0.7%.
  • Coronary angioplasty achieved an adequate reduction in the lesion in 89% of lesions attempted.
  • Seventy-three per cent of patients treated were discharged from hospital with a successful reduction of all lesions and no angina or complications.