02. tbl. 108. árg. 2022

Hypertension Management in Primary Care in the Capital Area of Iceland

Meðferð háþrýstings í heilsugæslu á höfuðborgarsvæðinu

Stefán Júlíus Aðalsteinsson1

Jón Steinar Jónsson1,2

Hannes Hrafnkelsson1,3

Guðmundur Þorgeirsson1

Emil Lárus Sigurðsson1,2

1Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland School of Health Sciences, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2Development Centre for Primary Healthcare in Iceland, Primary Health Care of the Capital Area, Reykjavik, Iceland, 3The primary health care of the capital area

Correspondence: Emil Lárus Sigurðsson, emilsig@hi.is

Key words: Hypertension, primary care, drug treatment, treatment goals

INTRODUCTION: High blood pressure (HT) is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases which in 2010 caused one third of all mortality in the world. Untreated, HT can cause stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, dementia, kidney failure, atherosclerosis and eye diseases. The main aim of this study was to find out how HT is treated in primary care in the capital area of Iceland.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study is a descriptive retrospective cross-sectional study covering the years 2010, 2014 and 2019. Information about all patients over 18 years old diagnosed with HT were gathered from computerised medical records at every primary care center in the Capital area.

RESULTS: The number of individuals diagnosed with HT increased during the study period and the mean age did also increase. The sex ratio changed with more men diagnosed than women. Of 25.873 patients diagnosed with HT in the year 2010, 63.4% received drug treatment. In 2019 this percentage had dropped 60.9% (p<0.001). Of those on antihypertensive drug treatment the proportion receiving one, two or three drugs remained same from 2010-2019. The most common group of drugs used were diuretics (C03), beta-blockers (C07), calcium channel blockers (C08) and renin-angiotensin-aldosteron-system (RAAS) inhibitors (C09). The proportion af these drug groups changed significantly during the study. Fever patients were treated by diuretics (p<0.001) or beta-blockers (p<0.001) but the number treated by calcium channel blockers (p<0.001) or RAAS inhibitors increased (p<0.001). During the whole stud period 44.1% of the patients reached the target goals. The proportion of patients who reached the target goals in different health care center was specifically for the year 2019. Just over 41% of HT patients reached the targets goals. However, two health care centers achieved notably different results with only one third of the patients attaining the goals.

CONCLUSION: As has recently been shown in epidemiologic studies hypertension in Iceland is both underdiagnosed and undertreated although the country ranks high on both counts in international comparison. Furthermore, the fact that under half of hypertensive patients in general practice in the capital area reach the targeted treatment goals, cannot be considered an acceptable. Thus, it is of immense importance to improve both the diagnosis and the treatment of HT.

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