[Relationship between te general practice guidelines for the diagnosis of hypertension and the indication for treatment and practice in the Nijmegen region, the Netherlands, 1983-2001]
SourceNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 147, 13, (2003), pp. 612-615
Article / Letter to editor
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Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
SubjectEBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether patients with hypertension in general practice are diagnosed and treated according to the criteria of the Dutch College of General Practitioners guidelines. DESIGN: Retrospective, descriptive. METHOD: Using data from 9 general practices belonging to the general practice research network of the Academic Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, all intake data of newly diagnosed hypertensive patients were collected. Three periods (1983-1991, 1992-1996 and 1997-2001) were studied and compared to the 1991 and 1997 versions of the guidelines. RESULTS: During the study period, 1959 patients with hypertension were registered. In 4% of the men and 3% of the women the hypertension criteria of the time were not met. These figures decreased during the course of the research period. Mean blood pressure at diagnosis was above 160/100 mmHg, even in patients with diabetes. The additional risk factors were recorded increasingly frequently (cholesterol level, smoking behaviour, body-mass index). In 1991, 63% were treated with medication (the other 37% only received lifestyle advice). During the last period, 86% received medication, while the indication to prescribe medication according to the guidelines increased from 40% to 81%. The increase may be ascribed to the new guideline recommendation of one risk factor as an indication to treat patients with mild hypertension instead of two. CONCLUSION: Almost all patients in whom the participating general practitioners diagnosed hypertension fulfilled the criteria. The difference in threshold values for diagnostic measurements and medicinal treatment means that people with mild hypertension are not always registered and consequently risk being forgotten by their general practitioner.
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