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Ensuring access to invasive care for all patients with acute coronary syndromes: beyond our reach?

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We need to ensure that those who need care most receive it

Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains the leading cause of death and disability in Australia, with suspected acute coronary syndromes (ACS) being the most common reason for acute presentation to hospital.1 A substantial body of evidence supports the early use of invasive care — coronary angiography and, if appropriate, revascularisation (either by percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI] or coronary artery bypass grafting [CABG]) — in patients presenting with ST-elevation myocardial infarction to reduce mortality and re-infarction rates.2 Evidence and expert opinion also favour invasive management of patients with high risk, troponin-positive non-ST-elevation ACS (NSTEACS).3,4 In patients with stable CAD, there is no evidence for any benefit from invasive care if optimal medical therapy is administered.5 Access to invasive care should be in accordance with clinical need, and this is likely to be greater in populations with a higher prevalence of CAD, CAD-related deaths, and coronary risk factors.

In this issue of the MJA, a large ecological study encompassing the entire population of 61 (former) Medicare Locals and using information from several databases identified…