The objective of this study is to determine the status of major risk factors for coronary heart disease in patients with established coronary heart disease in Croatia and whether the Joint European Societies' recommendations on coronary heart disease prevention are being followed in Croatia and whether secondary prevention practices have improved between 1998 and 2003.Methods
Five surveys were undertaken in 35 centres covering the geographical area of the whole of Croatia between 1 June, 1998 and 31 March, 2003. Consecutive patients of both sexes were identified after coronary-bypass grafting or a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or a hospital admission with acute myocardial infarction or ischaemia. Data collection was based on a review of medical records and the methodology used was similar to the one used in the EUROASPIRE study.Results
Fifteen thousand, five hundred and twenty patients were enrolled (64.6% men); 35% of patients smoked cigarettes, 66% had raised blood pressure, 69% elevated serum total cholesterol, 69% elevated serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, 42% low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, 37% elevated triglycerides, 30% diabetes and 34% family history of coronary heart disease. More men were smokers and had low HDL cholesterol, but more women had elevated total and LDL cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. More men had Q wave acute myocardial infarction, but more women had angina. Over 5 years, the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia decreased substantially from 82.7 to 65%. Eighty-three percent of patients received aspirin and this percentage did not change during the study. The use of diuretics, calcium antagonists and nitrates did not change either. The reported use of statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta-blockers increased significantly.Conclusion
This survey shows a high prevalence of modifiable risk factors in Croatian patients with coronary heart disease. Although the higher use of statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta-blockers is encouraging, the fact that most coronary heart disease patients are still not achieving the recommended goals remains a concern. There is real potential to reduce the very high coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality in Croatia.