New Heart Foundation figures released yesterday have revealed the NSW regions with the highest and lowest rates of hospitalisations from heart attack.
The statistics show that the south-west region, which includes Macarthur and Wollondilly, is ranked number six in the top 10 regions where people are most likely to die of coronary heart disease.
They also show that the show that the south-west is ranked 10th for heart attack hospitalisations and 11th when it comes to coronary heart disease hospitalisations.
The Heart Foundation's NSW/ACT heart health manager Anna Flynn said the stats showed a disparity between those living in regional areas compared to the inner city.
"These figures reveal an alarming inequality between the NSW residents who are most and least at risk of heart disease, as well as those who are most and least likely to be hospitalised or die from the condition, including from a heart attack," she said.
"If you live in the state's remote south, north or west, or in a disadvantaged part of Sydney, you have a much higher chance of heart disease, which remains the single leading cause of death in NSW.
"This is unacceptable, and the Heart Foundation will continue its work to reduce heart disease.
"We also urge governments at all levels to take action to curb the toll - especially in regional, rural and disadvantaged areas, where our Heart Maps show the burden of heart disease is at its highest."
Data also revealed that people living in the south-west are more likely to partake in risk factors for heart attacks including smoking and physical inactivity.
The south-west, including Macarthur, is also the only metropolitan area to appear in the top 10 for smoking rates.
More than 16 per cent of adults who live in this region smoke, which is which per cent above the state average.
People living in the south-west also have the highest rate of physical inactivity in the metropolitan area and NSW overall.
Almost 77 per cent of adults living in this region are not active enough for good health.
In terms of heart disease risk factors, the outer south-west also has Sydney's highest rate of obesity, and the seventh-highest rate in NSW overall.
Almost 37 per cent of adults living in this region are obese, which is 18 per cent above the state average.
These statistics are part of the latest update to the Heart Foundation's Australian Heart Maps.
The map is an online tool which allows users to look at data for heart disease deaths, hospitalisations and risk factors at a national, state, regional and local government area level.
The statistics also revealed, in terms of hospitalisations for coronary heart disease, Sydney's Sutherland region has the third-highest rate in NSW, and the highest rate in metro Sydney.
The rate of hospitalisation in this region is 30 per cent above the state average.
However the Sutherland region has the lowest rates of elevated blood pressure in Sydney and NSW overall.
Almost 22 per cent of adults living in this region have high blood pressure - but this is still more than one in five people who have this significant risk factor for heart disease.