Māori and Pacific people, and those living in areas of high deprivation, are more likely to die from a heart event before reaching a hopital. They are also more likely to die in the 28 days, and first year, following that event.
On a mission to eliminate those inequalities is Dr Corina Grey, who has just been awarded a three-year research fellowship from the Heart Foundation, announced in September. She will be investigating where and why inequalities arise based on age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
“Knowledge of where inequalities occur will then enable us to develop targeted strategies and interventions to improve care for all New Zealanders,” Dr Grey says.
Those inequalities could be:
She will find answers using data from the All NZ Acute Coronary Syndrome – Quality improvement (ANZACS-QI) research programme. This gives detailed information about all patients admitted to New Zealand hospitals with a heart attack.
As part of her Heart Foundation Fellowship, Dr Grey will also be looking at the risks and benefits of treatments for patients with acute coronary syndromes.
Evidence shows that higher-risk patients are more likely to benefit from early and more aggressive treatment strategies; however these patients might also be at high risk of experiencing a bleeding complication as a result of treatment.
“Through my research, I hope clinicians are able to more accurately identify patients who will benefit most from early and aggressive treatment by balancing the risks and benefits of therapy.”
Dr Grey, from the University’s Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, says the Heart Foundation’s support is extremely important in enabling this kind of research. “I would not be able to undertake research without it. I am very appreciative to the Heart Foundation for this opportunity.”
Each year, the Heart Foundation invests around $2 million in new research projects to combat heart disease, which is still this country’s biggest killer. Over many years, and with many millions of dollars, the Heart Foundation has supported ground-breaking research projects at the University of Auckland.