Heart disorder hits national epidemic proportions

Aug 30, 2010

A growing epidemic of the world's most common heart rhythm disorder is resulting in an alarming number of hospital admissions in Australia, according to cardiology researchers.

A research team led by Professor Prash Sanders, from the University of Adelaide and the Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, found that hospital admissions due to atrial fibrillation had more than tripled in Australia over a 15-year period.

These findings are being presented at the European Society of Cardiology's Scientific Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, today. The Congress is the largest annual meeting of doctors and scientists in Europe dedicated to the study of cardiovascular disease.

Professor Sanders, the Knapman Chair of Cardiology Research at the University of Adelaide, says the results are a wakeup call for doctors and healthcare authorities.

"There are very few studies that have looked at hospitalisation rates across an entire country due to atrial fibrillation, and none in recent years.

"This study highlights the enormous public health burden of atrial fibrillation on hospitals and the need for not only better treatments for this increasingly common condition, but also preventative strategies to stop it occurring in the first place," Professor Sanders says.

Chief investigator Mr Chris Wong, a final-year medical student at the University of Adelaide, says atrial fibrillation is the most common, sustained in humans, affecting almost one in 10 people over the age of 80.

"Importantly, left untreated, it can have devastating consequences such as stroke and death. One in five strokes are due to this heart rhythm disorder," Mr Wong says.

The researchers looked at all hospitalisations due to atrial fibrillation in Australia (population 22 million) over a 15-year period from 1993 to 2008.

The 200% increase in hospitalisations was despite a decrease in the length of stay for each admission.

"This highlights the fact that not only have the absolute number of admissions increased significantly, but also the percentage of the population hospitalised for is continuing to increase at an alarming rate," Mr Wong says.

The researchers also discovered that Indigenous Australians had greater rates of hospitalisation for this condition, and at younger ages.

Explore further: Jamaica Senate starts debate on pot decriminalization bill

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Big men more susceptible to atrial fibrillation

Apr 03, 2009

Older men who were big during their 20s face an increased risk of suffering from atrial fibrillation, or abnormal heart rhythm. New research from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, reveals that height ...

Osteoporosis drug may be associated with irregular heartbeat

Apr 28, 2008

Alendronate, a medication used to prevent fractures in women with osteoporosis, may be associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of abnormal heart rhythm, according to a report in the April 28 issue ...

Recommended for you

Jamaica Senate starts debate on pot decriminalization bill

Jan 30, 2015

Jamaica's Senate on Friday started debating a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry on the island where the drug ...

Can Lean Management improve hospitals?

Jan 30, 2015

Waiting times in hospital emergency departments could be cut with the introduction of Lean Management and Six Sigma techniques according to new research.

Research finds 90 percent of home chefs contaminate food

Jan 30, 2015

If you're gearing up for a big Super Bowl bash, you might want to consult the best food-handling practices before preparing that feast. New research from Kansas State University finds that most home chefs drop the ball on ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.