Heart Disease: Can we improve survival after a heart attack?


Heart disease affects 1 in 3 Australian families. Despite major improvements in our knowledge of cardiac rehabilitation and post-heart attack care, patients often suffer a recurrent heart attack, die or require re-admission to hospital following a first heart attack.

This research project intends solving at least part of this problem.
Survival rates after heart attack have improved dramatically in the past forty years: coronary care units, surgery, stenting, lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, healthy eating and moderate physical activity, and drug treatment have all contributed to this.

The project

There is a lot of benefit to be gained from rehabilitation and follow-up after heart attack, but not every health service can offer complete rehabilitation services, and we do not know if a ‘stripped down’ version of follow-up care may be equally effective. The uptake of drug treatment after heart attack is far from complete, and we aim to find out why that is so.

Focusing initially on two sites in Sydney and Hong Kong, where we have excellent connections through the Chinese University of Hong Kong and its affiliated Prince of Wales Hospital, we also plan to extend the study to China (Nanjing) as funding becomes available.


The potential benefits include finding new ways of cutting death after heart attack through improved support and provision of correct, affordable drugs during the first year after discharge from hospital following a heart episode. We know that in theory the death rates can be halved. In practice we do not know all we need to know to keep these people on track. That is what we want to find out.


Heart disease affects 1 in 3 Australian families.

Fundraising target: $725,000 (three years)

Project leaders: Professor Stephen Leeder, AO, Director, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, the University of Sydney and Dr Julie Redfern, Senior Research Fellow, The George Institute for International Health; Clinical Senior Lecturer, the University of Sydney.