Scientists from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute found that people living in disadvantaged areas are at increased risk of readmission to hospital and death after a heart attack.
The research is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and was conducted by Jedidiah Morton et al.
They found socioeconomic disadvantage was an important factor when it comes to treatment gaps, with socioeconomic disadvantage linked to both less intensive in-patient treatment and poorer outcomes.
This is particularly concerning given that illness and death following a cardiovascular event is already high, with more than 60% of people readmitted to hospital in the year following a heart attack.
In the study, the team examined variation in treatment for and outcomes following a heart attack, by diabetes status, sex, and socioeconomic disadvantage.
It looked at all people over 30 years who were discharged from hospital following a heart attack between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2017 in Victoria, which equated to more than 43,000 people.
people with diabetes are already known to be at increased risk of readmission and death following a heart attack.
The team found that showed this excess risk is reflected by more intensive treatment, providing an endorsement of Australia’s healthcare system.
However, the same could not be said for people living in more disadvantaged areas.
The findings showed people living in lower socioeconomic areas were also at higher risk of readmission and death following a heart attack but were less likely than those in less disadvantaged areas to receive in-patient procedures for heart attack, although they had higher rates of medication receipt.
The team says this disparity likely reflected inequality of care and was the most concerning finding in this study, as it was indicative of undertreatment that is not based on risk.
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