Abstract: Objective: To study the demographic, rates and types of chronic respiratory conditions in Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients in regional and remote communities of Northern Territory Top End, who were referred to the specialist respiratory outreach service. Design: A retrospective, observational study over a 2 years period. Setting: Remote community health clinics within the Northern Territory Top End visited by the specialist respiratory outreach team. Participants: Only patients referred to respiratory specialist outreach team were included. There were 444 participants, with 210 males and 234 females. In total, 79.3% were Indigenous. Main outcome measures: The rates of chronic respiratory disease diagnoses and smoking status within the different communities and health district regions. Results: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was the most common primary respiratory condition in our cohort of patients (50.5%) followed by sleep apnoea in (14.2%), bronchiectasis in (11.6%), asthma (11%), interstitial lung disease (2.5%), nodule/cancer (1.8%) sarcoidosis (0.2%) and others (9.2%). COPD, smoking status and bronchiectasis was more frequently noted among the Indigenous patients compared to non-Indigenous patients (56.3% versus 28.3%, P < 0.001), (52.6% versus 25.0%, P < 0.001), and (12.5% versus 3.3%, P = 0.01) respectively. Obstructive sleep apnoea was more commonly diagnosed in non-Indigenous patients. Conclusion: Indigenous patients of the remote and rural communities of the Top End have significantly higher rates of smoking and COPD compared to non-Indigenous patients. Bronchiectasis is also more common among Indigenous patients. Further efforts are warranted to develop strategies to address the disparity and optimise the respiratory outreach service to this population.
Kruavit, Anuk, Fox, Melissa, Pearson, Rebecca, Heraganahally, Subash, 2017, Chronic respiratory disease in the regional and remote population of the Northern Territory Top End: A perspective from the specialist respiratory outreach service, Volume:25, Journal Article, viewed 09 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=12144.