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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1984 Mar 24;288(6421):903-6.

Detection and management of hypertension in general practices in north west London.


An examination of the practice notes and attached correspondence of 900 patients aged 30 to 65 years in a random sample of 18 general practice in north west London showed that 340 (47%) of 716 patients consulting in a 10 year period had no blood pressure readings in their records. The blood pressure was equal to or above 160 mm Hg systolic or 95 mm Hg diastolic, or both, in 115 (31%) of those whose blood pressures were recorded; 18 (16%) of these were not followed up. Seventy four patients were being treated for hypertension. Diuretics were the most commonly prescribed drugs. Treatment was started after one blood pressure reading in 34 (46%). Nine of those who had an initial raised blood pressure reading were normotensive on follow up. A further 14 patients had subsequent raised blood pressure readings but were not treated. Sixty one (69%) of the 88 patients with hypertension did not have a blood pressure recording after diagnosis for one or more periods exceeding 12 months. Of 84 hypertensive patients with complete records, 62 (74%) apparently had had no physical examination performed by the general practitioner and 61 (72%) did not seem to have had any investigations initiated by the general practitioners. Fifteen (35%) of 43 patients taking oral contraceptive pills apparently had no blood pressure recordings during the time they were taking these. The results of this study suggest that there are still deficiencies in the detection and management of hypertension in general practice.

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