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The impact

CVD is Australia’s – and the world’s – number 1 killer.1, 2

With one in six Australians being affected by CVD, someone you know – or maybe even yourself – has been touched by CVD.3

The wide reach of CVD doesn’t stop there. As a major cause of death and disability in Australia, CVD places a huge burden on the economy as well as the healthcare system, costing $7.7 billion a year and being responsible for 11 per cent of all hospitalisations.4

Frighteningly, in recent years the number of people dying or suffering disability from CVD has been increasing for the first time in over 30 years.5 This is in part due to the increasing prevalence of ‘lifestyle diseases’ such as obesity and diabetes – major risk factors for CVD.

One Australian dies from cardiovascular disease
every 18 minutes

That's 79 people dying from cardiovascular disease every day.

The risk

CVD can affect anyone – man, woman, young, old – and over 90 per cent of Australians have at least one of its risk factors.6

The risk factors that can be managed include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inactivity, obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition and excessive intake of alcohol.

Making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and participating in regular physical activity can prevent up to 80 per cent of premature CVD, stroke and diabetes.7

Other risk factors which cannot be changed include age, gender, family history and ethnicity.

What is HRI doing?

HRI conducts groundbreaking research across a broad range of cardiovascular-related topics, in our goal to reduce the number of people who die from CVD and to offer a better life for those already suffering from the disease by developing next-generation treatments and medical devices.

Our Cardiovascular Medical Devices Group works to understand how medical device materials cause blood clots, and develops surface coatings to reduce blood clot formation on cardiovascular medical devices.

The Cardiovascular Neuroscience Group investigates how specialised areas of the brain contribute to the development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.


  1. World Health Organization; Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
  2. Bureau of Statistics 2018; Causes of Death 2017, ABS cat. no. 3303.0, September.
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016; National Health Survey: First results, 2014-15, ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, March. Data customised using TableBuilder.
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017; Australian health expenditure—demographics and diseases: hospital admitted patient expenditure 2004–05 to 2012–13. Health and welfare expenditure series no. 59. Cat. no. HWE 69. Canberra: AIHW.
  5. Australian Government Department of Health; Cardiovascular Disease.
  6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; Living dangerously: Australians with multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease; Feb 2005.
  7. World Health Organization; Noncommunicable diseases (NCD).

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