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10th February 2017

An Australian First for Coronary Heart Disease

Rosanna Tavella

An alarming statistic haunts the lives of too many members of our community – one Australian dies from heart disease every 12 minutes, making it the largest single cause of death in our country. But there is good news!

Clinical Data Manager and researcher at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research (BHI) Dr Rosanna Tavella has been passionately working on changing this statistic to improve health outcomes for you and your family. Thank you for making her work possible!

You may remember meeting Dr Tavella early in 2015. She has been working on the Coronary Angiogram Database of South Australia (CADOSA). Now two years since its launch CADOSA is already having a positive impact for everyday Australians who are suffering from heart disease.

Since the launch of the database which was adopted from the idea from America, CADOSA is having a positive impact for everyday Australians who have suffered heart disease.

“My current role is centred on trying to use clinical data more effectively, particularly using this data to monitor patient care and outcomes. This is so we can use the data we collect on a routine basis in a way that is useful for clinicians and researchers,” Dr Tavella explained.

“One key aspect of CADOSA I am very passionate about is our clinical outcome registry. This means that in addition to monitoring the clinical care that patients receive, we can also know what the mortality rate is and how often they come back to hospital, which is really important to help shape future research and patient care.

¨What we are moving towards in healthcare globally is patient related outcomes, such as how heart attacks affect a patients’ quality of life and improving the aspects of care a patient feels are most important to them.”

With this in mind, Dr Tavella and her team are hoping to optimise what the data in CADOSA will be used for in the future. Already the team have made some life-changing discoveries, which have gone on to inform research and improve patient care for people living with heart disease worldwide.

“Using our international relationship with America we can look at their trends and see what we are doing differently, which is stimulating discussions on how we could then approach our work in a different way,” Dr Tavella said.

Using the CADOSA structure, Dr Tavella and her team have also improved what is known as a ‘door to balloon time’ in one hospital. Door-to-balloon is a time measurement in emergency cardiac care for patients with heart attacks. It reflects the amount of time between a heart attack, patient’s arrival in the emergency department and the time they receive angioplasty/ stenting – a lifesaving treatment which restores blood supply to the heart.

The improvement was achieved by introducing a new communications process for staff and then monitoring the performance between the emergency department staff and cardiology before the new process, during and also after it, which led to great improvements for patients.

“At the moment we are also starting a trial to look at different medical therapies for patients with residual angina (chest pain caused by insufficient blood flow and oxygen), and we are hoping to see benefits with the use of different treatments. We’re hoping to have early results of this in the next six months,” Dr Tavella said.

“There’s nothing else like CADOSA within Australia. I’ve been able to see changes and improvements in our healthcare system quite quickly, it’s very fulfilling. My supervisor Professor John Beltrame has been a great mentor to me and it is because of his leadership that we’ve been able to establish CADOSA, which is one of three international sites around the world that’s piloting the International Consortium for Health Outcome Measurement for coronary artery disease.”

You’ve made this a reality – thank you!