Heart attack survival rates have jumped dramatically in the past decade, with Canberra showing the biggest improvement, new statistics from the National Heart Foundation show.

But the organisation warns more Australians are now living with heart damage and disability following an attack.

Heart attacks killed 14,443 people nationwide in 2001 compared with 9811 in 2011.

Canberra saw the greatest drop in heart attack death rates over the decade, with a 60 per cent decrease, while the Northern Territory had the smallest improvement, with a 28 per cent decrease.

Victoria was bang on the national average, with a 39 per cent drop.

Heart Foundation chief executive Lyn Roberts said heart attack survivors needed to remember they were at high risk of having another.

''Many Australian men and women are missing the message that treatment for heart attack is not a cure for heart disease - they need to adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain regular reviews with their doctor to prevent a repeat heart attack,'' she said on Sunday.

''Really that's a message for people who are at risk of having a heart attack, as well as those who have had one.''

Half of the 55,000 hospitalisations for heart attack in Australia in 2011 involved repeat attacks, and those episodes were more likely to be fatal.

Dr Roberts said cardiac rehabilitation played a crucial role in warding off repeat heart attacks, but existing programs were generally ''haphazard''. More funding for cardiac rehabilitation would save lives, she said. AAP