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

Cite this

Frijling, B. D., Spies, T. H., Lobo, C. M., Hulscher, M. E., van Drenth, B. B., Braspenning, J. C., ... Grol, R. P. (2001). Blood pressure control in treated hypertensive patients: clinical performance of general practitioners. British Journal of General Practice, 51(462), 9-14.