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1.  Voting with their feet - predictors of discharge against medical advice in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ischaemic heart disease inpatients in Western Australia: an analytic study using data linkage 
Background
Discharge Against Medical Advice (DAMA) from hospital is associated with adverse outcomes and is considered an indicator of the responsiveness of hospitals to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, the indigenous people of Australia. We investigated demographic and clinical factors that predict DAMA in patients experiencing their first-ever inpatient admission for ischaemic heart disease (IHD). The study focuses particularly on the differences in the risk of DAMA in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients while also investigating other factors in their own right.
Methods
A cross-sectional analytical study was undertaken using linked hospital and mortality data with complete coverage of Western Australia. Participants included all first-ever IHD inpatients (aged 25–79 years) admitted between 2005 and 2009, selected after a 15-year clearance period and who were discharged alive. The main outcome measure was DAMA as reflected in the hospital record.
Multiple logistic regression was used to determine disparities in DAMA between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients, adjusting for a range of demographic and clinical factors, including comorbidity based on 5-year hospitalization history. A series of additional models were run on subgroups of the cohort to refine the analysis. Ethics approval was granted by the WA Human Research and the WA Aboriginal Health Ethics Committees.
Results
Aboriginal patients comprised 4.3% of the cohort of 37,304 IHD patients and 23% of the 224 DAMAs. Emergency admission (OR=5.9, 95% CI 2.9-12.2), alcohol admission history (alcohol-related OR=2.9, 95% CI 2.0-4.2) and Aboriginality (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.5-3.5) were the strongest predictors of DAMA in the multivariate model. Patients living in rural areas while attending non-metropolitan hospitals had a 50% higher risk of DAMA than those living and hospitalised in metropolitan areas. There was consistency in the ORs for Aboriginality in the different multivariate models using restricted sub-cohorts and different Aboriginal identifiers. Sex, IHD diagnosis type and co-morbidity scores imparted different risks in Aboriginal versus non-Aboriginal patients.
Conclusions
Understanding the risks and reasons for DAMA is important for health system policy and proactive management of those at risk of DAMA. Improving care to prevent DAMA should target unplanned admissions, rural hospitals and young men, Aboriginal people and those with alcohol and mental health comorbidities.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-330
PMCID: PMC3765140  PMID: 23962275
Discharge against medical advice; Aboriginal health; Ischaemic Heart Disease; Linked data; Australia
2.  Impact of the introduction of drug eluting stents on clinical outcomes in patients undergoing percutaneous and surgical coronary artery revascularisation procedures in Western Australia 
Background
Increasing rates of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and decreasing rates of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery followed the introduction of drug eluting stents in Western Australia in 2002. We assessed the impact of these changes on one-year outcomes for the total population of patients undergoing coronary artery revascularisation procedures (CARP) in Western Australia between 2000-2004.
Methods
Clinical and linked administrative data (inpatient admissions and death) were merged for all patients who had their first CARP with stent or CABG in Western Australia between 2000-2004. The clinical data were collected from all hospitals in Western Australia where CARP procedures are performed. We calculated the unadjusted (Kaplan-Meier) and adjusted (Cox) risks for one-year death (all-cause), death (all-cause) or admission for myocardial infarction (MI), target vessel revascularisation (TVR) and the composite outcome of death/MI/TVR (major adverse cardiac events, MACE).
Results
Over the study period, there were 14,118 index CARPs. The use of drug eluting stents increased from 0% to 95.8% of PCI procedures, and PCI procedures increased from 61.1% to 74.4% of all CARPS. There were no temporal changes in adjusted one-year mortality or death/MI. Overall, adjusted one-year MACE fell from 11.3% in 2000 to 8.5% in 2004 (p<0.0001) due to a significant reduction in TVR in the PCI group.
Conclusion
The introduction of drug eluting stents and resulting changes in coronary revascularisation strategies were not associated with changes in the one-year risk of major clinical endpoints (death or death/MI), but were associated with a significant reduction in the risk of MACE, driven entirely by a reduction in TVR after PCI. This real world study supports the effectiveness of drug eluting stents in reducing repeat procedures in the total CARP population without increasing the risk of death or MI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-47
PMCID: PMC3704943  PMID: 23826870
Coronary artery disease; Coronary revascularisation; Clinical outcome; Population study; Drug eluting stents; Percutaneous coronary intervention
3.  Can we monitor heart attack in the troponin era: evidence from a population-based cohort study 
Background
Troponins (highly sensitive biomarkers of myocardial damage) increase counts of myocardial infarction (MI) in clinical practice, but their impact on trends in admission rates for MI in National statistics is uncertain.
Methods
Cases coded as MI or other cardiac diagnoses in the Hospital Morbidity Data Collection (MI-HMDC) in Western Australia in 1998 and 2003 were classified using revised criteria for MI developed by an International panel convened by the American Heart Association (AHA criteria) using information on symptoms, ECGs and cardiac biomarkers abstracted from samples of medical notes. Age-sex standardized rates of MI-HMDC were compared with rates of MI based on AHA criteria including troponins (MI-AHA) or traditional biomarkers only (MI-AHAck).
Results
Between 1998 and 2003, rates of MI-HMDC decreased by 3.5% whereas rates of MI-AHA increased by 17%, a difference largely due to increased false-negative cases in the HMDC associated with marked increased use of troponin tests in cardiac admissions generally, and progressively lower test thresholds. In contrast, rates of MI-AHAck declined by 18%.
Conclusions
Increasing misclassification of MI-AHA by the HMDC may be due to reluctance by clinicians to diagnose MI based on relatively small increases in troponin levels. These influences are likely to continue. Monitoring MI using AHA criteria will require calibration of commercially available troponin tests and agreement on lower diagnostic thresholds for epidemiological studies. Declining rates of MI-AHAck are consistent with long-standing trends in MI in Western Australia, suggesting that neither MI-HMDC nor MI-AHA reflect the true underlying population trends in MI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-35
PMCID: PMC3224105  PMID: 21702905
AHA Medical/Scientific Statements; cardiac biomarkers; diagnosis; myocardial infarction; trends
4.  Under-ascertainment of Aboriginality in records of cardiovascular disease in hospital morbidity and mortality data in Western Australia: a record linkage study 
Background
Measuring the real burden of cardiovascular disease in Australian Aboriginals is complicated by under-identification of Aboriginality in administrative health data collections. Accurate data is essential to measure Australia's progress in its efforts to intervene to improve health outcomes of Australian Aboriginals. We estimated the under-ascertainment of Aboriginal status in linked morbidity and mortality databases in patients hospitalised with cardiovascular disease.
Methods
Persons with public hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in Western Australia during 2000-2005 (and their 20-year admission history) or who subsequently died were identified from linkage data. The Aboriginal status flag in all records for a given individual was variously used to determine their ethnicity (index positive, and in all records both majority positive or ever positive) and stratified by region, age and gender. The index admission was the baseline comparator.
Results
Index cases comprised 62,692 individuals who shared a total of 778,714 hospital admissions over 20 years, of which 19,809 subsequently died. There were 3,060 (4.9%) persons identified as Aboriginal on index admission. An additional 83 (2.7%) Aboriginal cases were identified through death records, increasing to 3.7% when cases with a positive Aboriginal identifier in the majority (≥50%) of previous hospital admissions over twenty years were added and by 20.8% when those with a positive flag in any record over 20 years were incorporated. These results equated to underestimating Aboriginal status in unlinked index admission by 2.6%, 3.5% and 17.2%, respectively. Deaths classified as Aboriginal in official records would underestimate total Aboriginal deaths by 26.8% (95% Confidence Interval 24.1 to 29.6%).
Conclusions
Combining Aboriginal determinations in morbidity and official death records increases ascertainment of unlinked cardiovascular morbidity in Western Australian Aboriginals. Under-identification of Aboriginal status is high in death records.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-111
PMCID: PMC3024993  PMID: 21192809

Results 1-4 (4)