New report shows lack of integrated follow up care can increase risk of subsequent heart attack or stroke

Did you know, people who have experienced a heart attack or stroke carry a 30% higher risk of another event over the ensuing four years?

In fact, around a quarter of heart attack or stroke patients in Asia-Pacific are re-hospitalised with a follow-on event, according to an Amgen-sponsored white paper The Cost of Inaction: Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Asia-Pacific, released today (June 23, 2020) by leading public policy commentator, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In Australia, a substantial 4.2 million Australians are living with cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart attack and stroke. CVD remains our top cause of death, with one Australian dying from the devastating disease every 13 minutes.

The good news is, an estimated 80% of CVD is preventable. Rehabilitation services designed to keep patients well and prevent their hospital readmission is key to reducing the incidence and cost of recurring (secondary) heart attacks or strokes. However, these services across Asia- Pacific remain underdeveloped, according to the white paper, highlighting the urgent need for improved, integrated, coordinated care delivery between primary, secondary and tertiary health systems.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Heart attacks are rising among younger people across the Asia-Pacific markets examined.
  • Heart disease is costing the Asia-Pacific markets USD 46.3 billion (estimated across Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand).
  • CVD policies do exist in some form in all economies studied, however there is substantial room for improvement.
  • Policies on modifiable risk factors exist, but the success of translating these into legislation and action, along with measuring impact, remains to be defined.
  • Only one market (Australia) has implemented a comprehensive secondary prevention of CVD public health awareness campaign.
  • Clinical practice guidelines for CVD secondary prevention, heart attack and stroke, vary substantially across economies.
  • Government audits are lacking. Only two study economies have any form of audit in place.
  • Integrated primary care systems are still emerging in many Asian economies, and in many cases, patient uptake of services remains low. 

According to Vernon Kang, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Heart Foundation, “CVD already accounts for approximately 18 million deaths each year worldwide. The findings from The Cost of Inaction: Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Asia-Pacific confirms more can be done to ensure patients are supported to comply with their treatment and rehabilitation needs, and to reduce their risk of secondary disease, for which they are at high risk.”

Reflecting on the whitepaper findings, Amgen Vice President and regional General Manager, Penny Wan, Hong Kong said now, more than ever, avoiding re-hospitalisation from cardiovascular disease, is imperative.

“In many countries, good emergency care stops people dying from a heart attack or stroke. However, these patients are at higher risk of having another attack, which is compounded by lack of follow-up care, making future events more difficult to manage.

“Amgen is committed to working as part of a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach to shift healthcare models from ‘Break It Fix It’, to one that seeks to ‘Predict and Prevent’, to support patients and healthcare systems to become more resilient to healthcare shocks, such as a pandemic,” Ms Wan said.

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