WITH one in every four heart attack survivors failing to make essential lifestyle changes, the National Heart Foundation will distribute 10,000 resource kits across regional NSW to combat heart disease.
The resource kits will be distributed to patients living with heart disease in the Hunter New England, Central Coast, Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers areas.
The kits are part of the Heart Foundation's Managing My Heart Health initiative, designed to reduce the number of people who have repeat heart attacks by providing information on medical treatments and behaviour modification.
Statistics show that more than 21,700 people die from heart disease every year, with NSW spending $375 million on heart attack treatments annually.
More than 20 per cent of people who have a heart attack and survive have another attack within five years.
A trial of the Managing My Heart Health found that 66 per cent of smokers quit, 54 per cent lost weight and 65 per cent increased the amount of physical activity they undertook.
NSW Heart Foundation chief executive Kerry Doyle said not all heart disease patients were receiving all the information they needed.
"One in four heart attack survivors fail to make essential lifestyle changes, or changes to behaviour," Mrs Doyle said.
"With the introduction of these resource kits patients will now receive the necessary information required to help them make these changes."
The road to recovery for cardiac arrest dad
WHEN father-of-four Shaun Taoho awoke with chest pains on June 29 he thought little of it.
However, less than two hours later, the 40-year-old was being revived at John Hunter Hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.
"I just thought it was a bit of flu," Mr Taoho said.
Mr Taoho waited an hour for the pain to subside before he and his wife drove to the John Hunter's emergency ward, where he soon found himself fighting for his life.
"I had the attack within five minutes of getting to the hospital," he said.
"I was gone for a few minutes but luckily they brought me back."
A complete blockage of Mr Taoho's left anterior descending artery caused the cardiac arrest, with further scans revealing an 80 per cent blockage in his circumflex artery.
A concrete pumper by trade, the family man had always eaten well and visited the gym several times a week; but a 20-year smoking habit and a genetic history of heart problems meant the attack was "just waiting to happen".
"I didn't know before but my grandfather died of a heart attack and so did two of my uncles, who were both in their 40s."
Mr Taoho is now nearing the end of a six-week cardio rehab program at the Royal Newcastle Centre at New Lambton.
Patients are taken through two physical exercise sessions a week coupled with education about lifestyle changes they should make to avoid a repeat attack.
Mr Taoho praised the centre's program, which is aimed at giving patients the confidence that they can return to a normal life.
"The support has been great," he said.
"I've quit smoking and we are doing a lot of research about what comes next for me as I recover."
Mr Taoho is also doing his own recovery at home.