Launch of new cardiovascular disease guidelines

Department of Health

The Albanese Government has today launched the first major update to the cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines in over a decade, in a move that the Heart Foundation estimates could impact the care of 8 million Australians.

Even after decades of progress, cardiovascular disease remains the nation’s biggest killer and accounts for one in four Australian deaths.

Cardiovascular disease puts immense strain on patients, their families, the health system, and costs Australia more than $12.7 billion each year.

The guidelines will provide clinicians with the most up-to-date evidence on the early detection, assessment, and management of cardiovascular disease risk.

Along with the new guidelines, a calculator has been designed for general practitioners to more accurately estimate their patients’ risk of cardiovascular disease.

For the first time, the guidelines and calculator provide a risk equation that has been uniquely modified and recalibrated for the Australian population using contemporary cohort data.

This will help GPs to better identify high-risk people in need of treatment.

The Albanese Government has launched the updated guidelines in collaboration with the National Heart Foundation of Australia, on behalf of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance.

The guidelines are in line with National Health and Medical Research Council standards and endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

The Government in the 2023 May Budget committed $1 million in this financial year (2023-24) to commence implementation of the guidelines and embedding of the calculator into GP software.

The updated guidelines are complemented by other Albanese Government measures to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease, including extending the temporary MBS Heart Health Assessment items, and implementing 60-day prescriptions for many ongoing health conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol and other heart conditions.

60-day prescriptions will mean twice the medication for the cost of a single prescription.

See the updated guidelines.

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:

“The cardiovascular disease calculator is the new gold standard in assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease in Australians.

“Every day, 117 Australians die from this disease. The new guidelines will help medical professionals across the country to provide earlier detection and treatment for the disease, bringing new hope and help to thousands of Australians.”

Quotes attributable to David Lloyd, CEO, National Heart Foundation:

“Many years from now we will look back on this day and note that the new guideline was a major turning point in saving many Australians from cardiovascular disease.

“We thank the Australian Government for their support and leadership on preventative heart health, having funded the development of this guideline and supported the Heart Foundation with its implementation, and having also extended Medicare Heart Health Checks.”

/Media Release. View in full here.