Blood pressure control in treated hypertensive patients: clinical performance of general practitioners

B D Frijling, T H Spies, C M Lobo, M E Hulscher, B B van Drenth, J C Braspenning, A Prins, J C van der Wouden, R P Grol

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BACKGROUND: The blood pressure of many treated hypertensive patients remains above recommended target levels. This discrepancy may be related to general practitioners' (GPs') actions.

AIM: To assess clinical performance of GPs in blood pressure control in treated hypertensive patients and to explore the influence of patient and GP characteristics on clinical performance.

DESIGN OF STUDY: Cross-sectional study conducted on 195 GPs with invitations to participate made via bulletins and by letter.

SETTING: One hundred and thirty-two practices in the southern half of The Netherlands from November 1996 to April 1997.

METHOD: Performance criteria were selected from Dutch national hypertension guidelines for general practice. GPs completed self-report forms immediately after follow-up visits of hypertensive patients treated with antihypertensive medication.

RESULTS: The GPs recorded 3526 follow-up visits. In 63% of these consultations the diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was 90 mmHg or above. The median performance rates of the GPs were less than 51% for most of the recommended actions, even at a DBP of > or = 100 mmHg. Performance of non-pharmacological actions increased gradually with increasing DBP; prescribing an increase in antihypertensive medication and making a follow-up appointment scheduled within six weeks rose steeply at a DBP of > or = 100 mmHg. Patient and GP characteristics contributed little to clinical performance. Action performance rates varied considerably between GPs.

CONCLUSION: GPs seem to target their actions at a DBP of below 100 mmHg, whereas guidelines recommend targeting at a DBP of below 90 mmHg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number462
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

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