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For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources
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For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

Resources for providing best practice cardiovascular care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Key takeaways

  • Heart disease is a major contributor to the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.  
  • The Heart Foundation is a member of the END RHD Alliance and works in partnership with key stakeholders to address rheumatic heart disease (RHD).
  • The Heart Foundation refers to a range of resources and tools to help healthcare professionals provide quality cardiovascular care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

There has been a decline (61%) in deaths from circulatory diseases between 1998 and 2018 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples(2). However, heart disease  is still a major contributor to the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.  

  • Cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke occur 10 to 20 years earlier in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults than in non-Indigenous Australians.  
  • Three out of four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples under 35 years have one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD)1.  

Below is a list of useful resources for providing best practice cardiovascular care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

Guidelines 

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (RHD)  
The 2020 Australian guideline for prevention, diagnosis and management of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (3rd Edition). 
Learn more.

​Evidence 

CVD risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults   
A consensus statement containing recommendations for assessing CVD risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged under 35.   
Learn more.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Heart Health Check  
How to incorporate absolute CVD risk assessment into the 715 Health Check 
Learn more.

Projects 

The Lighthouse Hospital Project 
This project aimed to reduce inequalities in healthcare, with a focus on cardiac care and patient outcomes.  

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program
This program worked with local communities to help improve heart health in the Pilbara region from 2014 to 2020.  
   


END RHD

  • Bringing together many of the leading organisations working to address RHD.   
  • RHDAustralia Partnership 
  • The Heart Foundation and RHDAustralia have worked together in partnership to  improve health professional education.  



References  

  1. J Agostino, D Wong, E Paige, V Wade, C Connell, ME Davey, DP Peiris, D Fitzsimmons, CP Burgess, R Mahoney, E Lonsdale, P Fernando, L Malamoo, S Eades, A Brown, G Jennings, RW Lovett and E Banks, ‘Cardiovascular disease risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged under 35 years: a consensus statement’, Med J Aust, 2020; 212(9):422-427, doi:10.5694/mja2.50529.  
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics analysis of the ABS Causes of Death: Table D1.23.18 2020 [Available from: https://www.indigenoushpf.gov.au/measures/1-05-circulatory-disease   
 

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