Cardiovascular disease in Switzerland - health care, mortality and geographical pattern

Berlin, Claudia (2016). Cardiovascular disease in Switzerland - health care, mortality and geographical pattern (Unpublished). (Dissertation, University of Bern, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Human Sciences)

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Switzerland is facing an aging population and a growing amount of patients with chronic diseases. It is crucial to display health care processes and pathways, to identify inequalities and obstacles, and to point out possibilities for improvements of the Swiss health care system (e.g. increase efficiency).
The introductory part of the thesis presents a brief description of the Swiss health care system, health services research and regional variation as well as an introduction of CVD and its epidemiological key figures, aetiology and treatments. This is followed by the description of the utilized methods and data, and the objectives of this thesis. The subsequent sections present the four articles included in this thesis. The first article focuses on a small area analysis on regional variation of avoidable hospitalisations in Switzerland including density of primary care physicians and specialists, rurality and hospital supply factors as explanatory variables in the analysis. Lower rates of avoidable hospitalisations were found in areas with very high supply of primary care physicians, increased avoidable hospitalisation rates in areas with more
specialists and in areas with higher proportion of rural residents.
The second article aims to examine whether emergency patients with acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction were adequately treated, i.e. according to the treatment guidelines, in Switzerland. Results show that older and female patients were less likely to receive revascularization which suggests that the treatment guidelines may not be uniformly applied in Switzerland.
Similar to the first article, also in the third article a small area analysis was performed but this time investigating regional variation in costs at the end of life. Strongest associations of cost was found with cause of death, age and language region of the decedents. The strong spatial variation of costs
could only partly be explained by the included covariates.
Article four aims to examine the relationship of distance to different hospital types and mortality from AMI or stroke. We found that AMI mortality in the Swiss population 30 and older and stroke mortality in those 65 and above increased with distance to central and university hospitals, while adjusting for sociodemographic and economic characteristics of the population.
The presentation of the four articles is followed by a discussion, which summarizes the main findings and the strengths and limitations of the presented articles. The thesis concludes with a discussion about the challenges for policy, practice and future research.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Berlin, Claudia and Zwahlen, Marcel


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

17 May 2016 10:52

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2020 02:49

Additional Information:

PhD Thesis for the degree of PhD in Health Sciences (Epidemiology)




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