Heart Foundation rates national heart health on interactive map

A screenshot of the Heart Foundation's Australian Heart Map, a tool that plots the rates of heart disease, death and causes across the country.
A screenshot of the Heart Foundation's Australian Heart Map, a tool that plots the rates of heart disease, death and causes across the country.

The Capital Region of NSW ranks seventh in the state for risk of death from coronary heart disease and sits above the national average heart attack rate.

The data comes from the Heart Foundation’s Australian Heart Maps, which plot hospital admission rates for heart-related conditions at a national, state and some local government levels. 

The interactive map shows how rates of heart related admissions compare across Australia, and visually highlights the association between socio-economic disadvantage and remoteness and heart health.

It shows metropolitan populations have better heart health than regional, rural and remote populations.

The map compares the regions using age-standardised rates (ASR) per 10,000 residents. This allows for more accurate comparisons to be made across regions that have differences in population and age.

If a region has a high ASR, it means factors other than age and population are driving the number of heart-related hospital admissions or deaths. This could include lifestyle risk factors, like obesity and smoking. 

The Capital Region ranks sixth highest in the country in relation to the more serious STEMI heart attacks, caused by a coronary artery becoming completely blocked.

The ASR of STEMI heart attacks in the Capital Region is 6.4, sitting above the national average of 4.3.

In relation to non-STEMI heart attacks, where damage doesn’t extend through the full depth of the heart muscle, the Capital Region comes in below the national average.

But overall, the region sits above the national average rate of heart attacks, with an ASR of 18.5, compared to the national average of 17.2.

All NSW heart-related admissions by region. The Capital region ranks eighth highest in the state.

All NSW heart-related admissions by region. The Capital region ranks eighth highest in the state.

Residents of the Capital Region are also at greater risk than the average Australian of unstable angina, a condition that restricts the heart’s blood flow and oxygen and can lead to a heart attack.

The Capital Region is level with the national average ASR for heart failure at 22.8.

An ASR of 84.6 also puts the Capital Region above the national average for coronary heart disease mortality rate of 75.5.

These rates could be explained by the fact that the Capital Region also sits above the national average of smoking and obesity rates, which deteriorate heart health.

Nineteen of every 100 people smoke in the Capital Region, above the national average of 16.1. 

The region is also in the top third of obese regions, with 33.4 of every 100 people falling into the weight catergory, compared to 27.9 nationally.

On a more local level, The Bega Valley local government area ranked 260 of 502 LGAs across the nation for overall number of all heart-related admissions to hospital. 

The Heart Foundation advises its LGA level information uses a slightly smaller data pool, but indicates the Bega Valley’s admission level it is not significantly different from the national average.

Overall, the Northern Territory Outback ranked highest for all heart related hospital admissions with 161 admissions for every 10,000 people, while the North Sydney and Hornsby region was the lowest with 31.3 admissions for every 10,000 people.