Each year, about 55,000 Australians are hospitalised after suffering a heart attack.
But shockingly, about one in five of those patients are readmitted within 30 days of being discharged.
Thanks to your donations to Australian Heart Research (AHR), a team of Adelaide researchers has embarked on a project with the aim to drive that number down.
Led by Dr Clementine Labrosciano, an Early Career Researcher at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the team hopes to develop a model that will better identify patients at risk of readmission.
Prediction models have already been developed and implemented in North American hospitals.
However, Dr Labrosciano said there was a need to develop a local model that was better suited to the Australian healthcare system.
“There are no Australian clinical models currently available to predict readmissions following a heart attack; the majority of the models available have been developed and validated in the US,” she said.
“We are interested in seeing how the local contributors and factors, such as a different healthcare system, impacts readmissions.
“[In] the US they have a more complex healthcare system compared to Australia’s universal healthcare system, therefore the international prediction models may not be optimal in the Australian setting.”
Readmission has a ripple effect on the patient, their family and the wider hospital system.
Not only does readmission increase the risk of complication, but it brings with it significant healthcare costs and an increased chance of death.
It also places more burden on hospitals, with about a quarter of readmissions considered preventable.
The project is using data collected in all local public hospitals so that researchers can explore in depth any possible predictors in South Australians.
Dr Labrosciano said this will eventually allow doctors and cardiologists to provide individually tailored support and aid them in the decision-making process.
“If we don’t determine which patients are at higher risk of readmissions and try to intervene, these patients will continue to return to hospital,” she said.
“This will continue to cause distress to patients and to our already struggling healthcare system.”
A preliminary model, using data from 2012 to 2018, has been developed by Dr Labrosciano, which was presented at the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand’s annual conference in August.
AHR looks forward to keeping our donors updated on the project’s progress.