Objective: Ischaemic heart disease (IHD) is a major source of disease burden worldwide. Recent trends show incidence is declining but it is unclear whether the trends are similar in urban and rural populations. This study examines the trends of IHD events (i.e. hospitalisations and deaths) in New South Wales, Australia by rurality. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of linked administrative data for hospitalisation and death records across NSW between 2001 and 2015. Participants were NSW residents aged 15–105 years who died or were hospitalised with a principal diagnosis of IHD. The main outcome measures were annual age-standardised mortality and hospitalisations for IHD by calendar year and rurality. Results: Between 2001 and 2015, age-standardised annual IHD hospitalisations declined in urban areas from 587 to 260 and in rural areas from 766 to 395 per 100,000 people. The annual decline in hospitalisations was greater in urban than rural areas, with Annual Percentage Change (APC) of −5.6% (95% CI, −6.1%, −5.0%) and −4.5% (95% CI, −5.0%, −4.0%), respectively (p=0.012). Ischaemic heart disease mortality declined at a similar rate in urban and rural regions (APC −7.6% and −6.7% per annum, p=0.28). Absolute inequalities in IHD deaths persisted until 2015 when there were 49 (urban) and 70 (rural) IHD deaths per 100,000 people. Conclusions: Ischaemic heart disease hospitalisations and mortality have declined considerably between 2001 and 2015 in both rural and urban areas, yet inequalities persist, suggesting more intensive preventive efforts are required to further reduce the burden of IHD in rural populations.
- Ischaemic heart disease