An integrated national approach represents the greatest opportunity to further reduce cardiovascular disease burden
In Australia, coronary heart disease (CHD) accounts for about 100 000 hospital separations annually. In 2010, the total cost of acute coronary events was over $5 billion.1 A high proportion of coronary events occur in those with known CHD,2,3 and there is strong evidence that secondary prevention reduces hospital readmission and death within the first year after a coronary event by as much as 45% and 25%, respectively.4,5 However, despite abundant evidence and guideline recommendations,6 fewer than half of eligible patients take appropriate preventive medicines or adhere to lifestyle recommendations, and only about a third of those who are eligible attend a prevention program.7,8 A nationally orientated and coordinated approach that underscores the value of secondary prevention, defines the available resources, and monitors uptake and outcomes will be essential in closing these gaps.9
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