Opportunities for control of coronary heart disease in Australia

P. Mcelduff, A.J. Dobson, K. Jamrozik, Michael Hobbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To estimate the number of coronary events that could be prevented in Australia each year by the use of preventive and therapeutic strategies targeted to subgroups of the population based on their levels of risk and need.Methods: Estimates of risk reduction from the published literature, prevalence estimates of elevated risk factor levels from the 1995 National Health Survey and treatment levels from the Australian collaborating centres in the World Health Organization's MONICA Project were used to calculate numbers of coronary events preventable among men and women aged 35-79 years in Australia.Results: Approximately 14,000 coronary events could be avoided each year if the mean level of cholesterol in the population was reduced by 0.5 mmol/L, smoking prevalence was halved and prevalence of physical inactivity was reduced to 25%. This represents a reduction in coronary events of about 40%. Even with less optimistic targets, a reduction of 20% could be attained, while the achievement of some internationally recommended targets could lead to almost 50% reduction. In the short term, aggressive medical treatment of people with elevated levels of risk factors and established coronary disease offers the greatest opportunity for reducing coronary events.Conclusion: A comprehensive approach to reduce levels of behavioural and biological risk factors and improve the use of effective treatment could lead to a large reduction in coronary event rates. In the long term, primary prevention - especially to reduce smoking, lower cholesterol levels and increase exercise - has the potential to reduce the population levels of risk and hence contain the national cost of coronary disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-30
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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