A first-of-its-kind cardiovascular study is underway in Gippsland to understand heart health in the region and how to support better health outcomes.

More than 390 Gippslanders have already participated in the study, by accessing a 15-minute free heart health screening in May and June. The screenings are part of the Gippsland Healthy Heart Study, a collaborative project delivered by API, SiSu Health, Latrobe Health Services, Priceline Pharmacy and other key partners.

According to Amy Sabatini, Chief Pharmacist with Priceline, coronary heart disease remains the dominant cause of death among Australians with worse outcomes experienced in regional and rural areas.

“The Gippsland Healthy Heart Study aims to sample the cardiovascular health of the Gippsland community,” said Ms Sabatini.

“It also means that Gippslanders have access to a free heart health screening. During their screening, participants have some key indicators checked including blood pressure, heart rate, body composition, diabetes risk and non-fasting cholesterol levels.

“Participants receive their results immediately and can take these to follow up with their GP as needed, and we recommend that everyone should get regular checks with their GP to maintain their health,” continued Ms Sabatini.

Latrobe Health Services CEO, Ian Whitehead, said as Gippsland’s Private Health Insurer, Latrobe Health was happy to be supporting the study.

“We’re passionate about good health in regional communities,” said Mr Whitehead. “Gippsland has some of the worst heart health outcomes in Australia, so we’ve been encouraging our members and community to participate in the health screenings.”

The free health checks are open to all Gippslanders aged 18 years and have been conducted in Bairnsdale, Sale, Traralgon and Morwell. The screenings will next be held at the Latrobe Health Services Member Experience Hub, 39 Smith Street, Warragul from Tuesday, 14 June to Thursday, 16 June.

Early results have seen 50 people referred to their GP, with one person sent to hospital via ambulance.

Member for Morwell, Russell Northe, participated in the 15 minute health screening on his recent visit to Maryvale Private Hospital. Mr Northe met with Dr. Mark Boyes, the associate investigator of the study, to understand the key benefits of regular heart health screenings and was more than happy to participate in a health check while visiting the hospital.

For more information about the Gippsland Healthy Heart Study please visit latrobehealth.com.au/gippslandhealthyhearts.