Prevention and follow-up of cardiovascular disease among patients without a personal GP

Fam Pract. 2003 Aug;20(4):420-4. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmg415.


Objective: This paper describes the characteristics of Belgian people who declare that they have a personal GP (PGP) compared with those who do not. Furthermore, patterns of cardiovascular prevention and care are described for these two groups.

Methods: The data are derived from the 1997 Belgian Health Interview Survey (HIS) in which a representative sample (n = 10 221) of the Belgian population was questioned. The HIS data about physical activity, food, blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and stroke are analysed.

Results: After standardization for age and gender, 7.0% of the subjects declared that they did not have a PGP. The mean age of patients without a PGP (33.2 +/- 20.4 years) is significantly lower than for those with a PGP (40.4 +/- 22.7 years) (P < 0.001). More smokers (38.5% compared with 28.5%) were reported among the subjects without a PGP (P < 0.001). For 14.8% of the subjects without a PGP, their blood pressure had never been measured, and for 51.1% their cholesterol had never been measured (6.7% and 35.7%, respectively in subjects with a PGP). Among the subjects without a PGP, 3.8% had high blood pressure and 1.5% had a coronary heart disease. Among the hypertensive patients without a PGP, 43.6% are not treated by any physician.

Conclusion: Subjects without a PGP were less likely to have a healthy way of life. Having a PGP seemed to have a beneficial influence on the screening for and the follow-up of cardiovascular risk factors. However, it has never been confirmed that providing people who do not have a PGP with one would result in health improvements. In particular, cardiac patients without a PGP sought their medical treatment directly from specialists.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Belgium
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors