Cardiovascular risk in Indigenous people

Years funded:
2017 - 2018

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians compared to non-Indigenous Australians. In addition to death, CVD leads to more hospitalisations, disability, and premature mortality. 

Understanding what drives these differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is paramount to improving the prevention and management of CVD for Indigenous people. 

Several large surveys on CVD risk factors have been undertaken, but few studies have had the opportunity to track CVD outcomes over time. 

Dr Elizabeth Barr aims to expand her work previously conducted with the help of a previous Heart Foundation grant, and follow-up Indigenous Australian cohorts using data linkage to track CVD hospitalisations and death. 

Data from this follow-up would help to: 
1. Identify the profiles of individuals who are at high risk of CVD but currently not detected as being at high risk with existing clinical risk assessments
2. Refine a CVD risk score for Indigenous Australians. 

This research aims explore an Australian-specific absolute CVD risk equation to gain a better understanding of the long-term impact of different risk factors. This will improve clinical protocols on detection and management of CVD risk in Indigenous Australians.

Researcher Profile

Dr Elizabeth Barr

Institute: Menzies School of Health Research
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