Results for Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre


Coronary Artery Disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

The current assessment for emergency department (ED) patients with chest pain focuses on the short-term risk of heart attack, to differentiate low risk patients from those at high risk and requiring further treatment. This has been shown to be safe and effective for non-Indigenous patients, however, deaths from heart attack in Indigenous Australians occur, on average, at younger ages than non-Indigenous Australians.

Due to the high lifetime prevalence of heart attack in Indigenous Australians, ED investigations that focus on both short- and long-term risks may improve outcomes. Understanding rates of, and the types of patients who have coronary artery disease in this cohort would provide additional information about who requires further testing.

The aim of this study is to measure the rate of coronary artery disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who present to the ED with chest pain. By identifying how many Indigenous patients with chest pain in the ED have coronary artery disease, researchers aim to establish foundational knowledge to develop a heart attack risk assessment that is specific to Indigenous patients.

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Coronary Artery Disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die from heart attacks at younger ages than non-indigenous Australians. The factors that increase risk of death from heart attack in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are unknown.

Most patients who present to an Emergency Department (ED) with chest pain do not have a heart problem but all are assessed for their risk of having a life-threatening cause, such as heart attack. The level of risk determines which tests are performed so that a final diagnosis can be obtained as quickly as possible. Due to the lack of knowledge about risk factors in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population there is uncertainty about how best to use chest pain risk assessments in indigenous patients.

In this study, we will determine the rate of coronary artery disease (a hardening of arteries and the underlying cause of heart attacks) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who present to the ED with chest pain. We will also compare the characteristics of patients who do and do not have heart attacks to identify potential risk factors for heart attack in this population.

The findings from this study will: 1) allow ED doctors to determine a baseline level of risk of heart attack for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient population, and 2) provide preliminary information necessary for the design of large-scale research studies with the goal of determining specific risk factors for heart attack in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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