Effects of a multifaceted educational program on blood pressure and cardiovascular risk in hypertensive patients: the Austrian herz.leben project

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ObjectiveAlthough hypertension is the most prevalent risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality, the level of blood pressure control remains poor. To amplify quality of care in hypertensive patients, a multifaceted program consisting of structured educational programs for both patients and staff, structured documentation and feedback reports with peer comparison, was implemented on a multicentre basis. Main targets were improvement of blood pressure control and reduction of cardiovascular risk. A provisional reimbursement was provided.MethodsPatients were eligible for inclusion in the program if office blood pressure was uncontrolled (>160/95 or >140/90 mmHg) in addition to elevated cardiovascular risk [>15% according to the New Zealand Risk Score (NZRS)]. Blood pressure and lipid panels were measured at entry in the program and after 12 months. Patients attended four educational units held by hypertension nurses and physicians. All data were collected in structured documentation sheets and benchmarking reports were provided every 6 months.ResultsTwo thousand and forty-one patients were enrolled in the program within 5 years and 3 months; 54% female, age 62.8 ± 11.1years, BMI 29.50 ± 7.88 kg/m2 (mean ± SD). To date, 744 patients have been seen at 1-year follow-up. Entry blood pressure was 156.1 ± 20.8/88.9 ± 11.1 mmHg. Total cholesterol showed mean levels of 207.0 ± 46.0 mg/dl, low-density lipoprotein 122.3 ± 41.6 mg/dl, high-density lipoprotein 57.2 ± 22.4 mg/dl and calculated cardiovascular risk level (NZRS) was 17.28 ± 8.29%. One year following the educational program, blood pressure was reduced to 139.2 ± 15.6 (P < 0.001)/82.1 ± 9.5 mmHg (P < 0.001). NZRS (14.1 ± 7.2%; P < 0.001) and BMI (29.26 ± 4.92 versus 29.06 ± 4.99) also improved significantly.ConclusionThis structured educational program showed its ability to improve intermediate outcomes in hypertensive patients. Better blood pressure control and significant reduction of the individual cardiovascular risk profile were achieved. A broad implementation of the program in the management of hypertension seems justified.

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