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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 1942-1959; doi:10.3390/ijerph110201942
Article

Effect of Ambient Temperature on Australian Northern Territory Public Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Disease among Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Populations

1
, 2
, 3
, 1,4,*  and 1,4
1 Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia 2 Centre for Health Research, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2560, Australia 3 Public Health Association of Australia, Deakin, ACT 2600, Australia 4 ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 November 2013 / Revised: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 22 January 2014 / Published: 13 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health)
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Abstract

Hospitalisations are associated with ambient temperature, but little is known about responses in population sub-groups. In this study, heat responses for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in two age groups were examined for two categories of cardiac diseases using daily hospital admissions from five Northern Territory hospitals (1992–2011). Admission rates during the hottest five per cent of days and the coolest five per cent of days were compared with rates at other times. Among 25–64 year olds, the Indigenous female population was more adversely affected by very hot days than the non-Indigenous female population, with admission rates for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) increasing by 32%. People older than 65 were more sensitive to cold, with non-Indigenous male admissions for heart failure increasing by 64%, and for IHD by 29%. For older Indigenous males, IHD admissions increased by 52% during cold conditions. For older non-Indigenous females, increases in admissions for heart failure were around 50% on these cold days, and 64% for older Indigenous females. We conclude that under projected climate change conditions, admissions for IHD amongst younger Indigenous people would increase in hot conditions, while admissions among elderly people during cold weather may be reduced. The responses to temperature, while showing significant relationships across the Northern Territory, may vary by region. These variations were not explored in this assessment.
Keywords: Indigenous health; hospital admissions; climate; ambient temperature; cardiovascular disease; Australia Indigenous health; hospital admissions; climate; ambient temperature; cardiovascular disease; Australia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Webb, L.; Bambrick, H.; Tait, P.; Green, D.; Alexander, L. Effect of Ambient Temperature on Australian Northern Territory Public Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Disease among Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Populations. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 1942-1959.

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