City of Melville receives hearty tick from foundation


Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson.
Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson.

HEART Foundation statistics reveal City of Melville residents deserve a massive tick in the cardiovascular health column.

Australia’s peak heart disease prevention charity recently released an interactive map that displays hospital admission rates for heart-related conditions all the way down to local government level.

Melville boasts an age-standardised admission rate* of 32.6 per 10,000 persons – the third best in Perth behind Cottesloe (29.3) and Cambridge (32.4). It is ranked 43rd best in the country.

At the other end of the scale, Belmont (64.6) and Kwinana (62.2) are the worst in Perth while Halls Creek in the state’s far north tops the heart health watch list with a staggering admission rate of 204.1 per 10,000.

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Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said the map highlighted the inequities between metropolitan areas, especially those with high socio economic indexes, and regional and remote areas.

“This is likely the result of a number of factors, including better access to medical treatment and programs, lower rates of smoking, physical inactivity and obesity, better health infrastructure and the availability of healthy food,” Mr Swanson said.

Fiona Stanley Hospital head of cardiology Jamie Rankin said despite WA’s growing and ageing population and an increase in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity, there had not been a corresponding spike in heart rate admissions.

“Over the last 20 years, when you adjust statistically for age, there has been a steady decline in the rates of admissions of people with heart disease and people dying from a heart attack,” Dr Rankin said.

“This is largely due to successful public health interventions particularly in reducing smoking rates, improving screening and treatment for conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes and better treatments available for patients presenting with a heart problem.

“Rheumatic heart disease, which is now very rare in metropolitan populations, remains prevalent in some of the remote areas of the state.”

Readers can view the map online.

*An age-standardised rate (ASR) is a summary measure of the rate that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Standardisation is necessary when comparing several populations that differ with respect to age as age is a risk factor for heart disease.