Association of physician's sex with risk factor control in treated hypertensive patients from Swedish primary healthcare

J Hypertens. 2008 Oct;26(10):2050-6. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32830a4a3b.


Objective: To study the association of physician's sex with blood pressure, lipid control, and cardiovascular risk factors in treated hypertensive men and women, stratified for the sex of their physician.

Methods: In a cross-sectional survey of hypertensive patients, 264 primary care physicians (PCPs), 187 men and 77 women from across Sweden, recruited 6537 treated hypertensive patients (48% men) during 2002-2005, consecutively collected from medical records and registered on a web-based form connected to a central database. Patients were included consecutively in the same order as they visited the healthcare centre.

Results: Hypertensive women more often reached target systolic/diastolic blood pressure levels (<140/90 mmHg) when treated by female PCPs than when they were treated by male PCPs (32 vs. 24%, P < 0.001). This difference remained when comparing female and male physicians' nondiabetic female patients. Both male and female patients had better control of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels when treated by female PCPs than when treated by male PCPs (total cholesterol <5 mmol/l: women 30 vs. 24%, P < 0.001; men 42 vs. 34%, P < 0.001; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <3 mmol/l: women 39 vs. 33%, P < 0.01; men 41 vs. 35%, P < 0.05). Female PCPs had a higher proportion of treated hypertensive patients with diabetes than did male PCPs but male PCPs had a higher prevalence of treated hypertensive men with microalbuminuria compared with female PCPs.

Conclusion: Female physicians appeared more often to reach the treatment goal for blood pressure in female patients and cholesterol levels in all patients than did male physicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Family
  • Physicians, Women
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Antihypertensive Agents