Rural heart patients are suffering from inequalities in health services between rural and metropolitan areas, according to health experts .
Chronic heart failure is an increasing public health problem in developed countries as the population ages, and Australia has one of the highest population growths in the over-65 years age group.
"Significant inequalities in health are evident for rural and remote Australians for many health indicators," said Professor Henry Krum, Head of the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Therapeutics at Monash University, Melbourne.
"Mortality from circulatory diseases has been shown to rise with increasing remoteness."
Professor Krum and colleagues examined differences in primary care management of chronic heart failure between rural and urban areas.
Their study, published in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, showed there was a higher prevalence of chronic heart failure in patients in rural areas compared with urban areas.
There was also significantly lower use of the current recommended methods of diagnosis and treatment.
"The findings suggest that greater allocation of resources and improved access to specialists and diagnostic support need to be considered for rural and remote populations, to match those in metropolitan areas."
"The fact that rural and remote patients were hospitalised as often as patients living in cities has particular relevance for health policy, as specialist cardiac services are limited in rural and remote Australia."