Physicians' perception, knowledge and awareness of cardiovascular risk factors and adherence to prevention guidelines: the PERCRO-DOC survey

Atherosclerosis. 2010 Dec;213(2):598-603. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2010.09.014. Epub 2010 Oct 13.


Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the major cause of premature death in the world. This study was designed to examine the physicians' knowledge and perception of CVD risk factors and perceived implementation of CVD prevention guidelines as well as barriers to their implementation.

Methods: A questionnaire survey by face-to-face interviews was performed among 1382 randomly selected physicians (general practitioners/family medicine specialists, internists and cardiologists) from different regions of Croatia.

Results: Most physicians believe that guidelines are useful but only 56.9% are really using some guidelines. 40.2% favour Joint European guidelines. More primary care physicians use their own personal experience in prevention while internists and cardiologists tend more to use the guidelines. 80.6% believe that they treat their patients with dyslipidemia well but only 53.3% knew the LDL-cholesterol goal value for high-risk patients and only 56.2% knew which HDL-cholesterol level is the marker of increased risk. Hypertension was perceived as the most important risk factor, particularly by primary care physicians, while cardiologists tend to favour diabetes. Although most physicians considered the lack of financial resources as the main barrier in CVD prevention, at the same time most of them believe that it could primarily be improved by better patient education.

Conclusions: Although most physicians support the guidelines use, only half of them use them and in average their knowledge of guidelines is not satisfactory. This is, together with the lack of time and finances and perceived lack of patients' awareness, probably one of the main causes why they do not manage risk factors better.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Croatia
  • Data Collection
  • Diabetes Complications
  • General Practitioners
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Internal Medicine
  • Physicians, Primary Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires