Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Roughly half of patients admitted to Australian hospitals with a cardiovascular disease also have multiple chronic medical conditions that require complex treatment, a study suggests.
The University of West Australia's School of Population and Global Health and the Western Australian Centre for Rural Health examined nationwide health data of 18,194 patients aged between 25 and 59 years old from 2000 to 2014 with atherothrombotic disease. The findings were published Wednesday in PLOS One.
Cardiovascular diseases, which include heart attacks and strokes, are responsible for the majority of deaths and disability in the United States.
One in four Americans has multiple chronic conditions, ones that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit daily activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among people 65 and older, it's three in four. Approximately 71 percent of the total health care spending in the United States involves care for the Americans with more than one chronic condition, the CDC also found.
In the study in Australia, patients with atherothrombotic disease had, on average, two additional major medical problems.
There were distinct patterns or combinations of commonly occurring long-term medical diseases in cardio disease patients. Among people younger than 40 with cardio diseases, mental health issues, including alcohol and drug abuse, and respiratory conditions, were more prevalent. Metabolic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney diseases, were common in those 40 and older.
The findings reveal a need for new strategies in healthcare, the researchers believe.
"A shift in thinking in how to provide high-quality, patient-centred, holistic care to patients with cardiovascular diseases and multiple health conditions is needed," lead researcher Dr. Mohammad Akhtar Hussain said in a press release. "This research can inform the types of services that need to be brought together within a one-stop shop in order to meet the needs of patients."
Co-author Sandra Thompson, a professor from the Western Australian Center for Rural Health, said the research had implications for current treatment guidelines where treatments assessed in drug trials generally focused on one specific condition.
"The clinical care of patients with cardiovascular conditions has become more complex," Professor Thompson said.
"Rather than providing care in a single disease paradigm, management of cardiovascular diseases needs to be delivered by multidisciplinary teams that focus on the whole patient and all of the relevant conditions they have," Thompson added.
In the study, the multiple diseases rate was significantly higher among Aboriginal people 79.2 percent vs. 39.3 percent for non-Aboriginal individuals.