Analysis of inequalities in secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in a universal coverage health care system

Eur J Public Health. 2006 Aug;16(4):361-7. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cki202. Epub 2005 Oct 17.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyse whether differences exist in social class or education level in coronary heart disease (CHD) secondary prevention and in cardiovascular risk factor control in a universal coverage health care system.

Design: Cross-sectional multi-centre study.

Participants and setting: 1022 CHD patients recruited from residents in the catchment areas covered by 23 primary health care facilities in Catalonia, Spain.

Main outcome measures: Demographic data, cardiovascular co-morbidity, smoking, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), drug therapy used for secondary prevention, educational level, and social class based on occupation.

Results: Patients at the lowest educational level were more frequently women, older, and diabetic. Patients in the middle educational level were more frequently smokers than those in the highest or the lowest level (24.7, 8.7, and 12.0%, respectively; P = 0.008) and had better systolic blood pressure levels (125 mmHg (15), 135 mmHg (16), and 134 mmHg (17), respectively; P = 0.001). All educational levels and social classes had similar adjusted rates of risk factor control. Therapeutic management was also similar among all educational levels and social classes, after adjusting for confounders.

Conclusions: CHD patients in the lower SES received similar treatment for secondary prevention and achieved similar control of risk factors. No social inequalities were found in secondary prevention in CHD patients using the National Health System in Spain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Universal Health Insurance*