Purpose: We investigated the 10-year mortality rates in a trial that tested a case-based intervention in primary care aimed at reducing the gap between evidence-based goals and clinical practice in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).
Methods: A prospective randomized controlled pragmatic trial was undertaken in a primary care setting. New evidence-based guidelines, with intensified lipid-lowering recommendations in CHD, were mailed to all general practitioners in the region and presented at a lecture in 1995. General practitioners (n = 54) and patients with CHD (n = 88) were assigned according to their primary health care center to 2 balanced groups and randomly allocated to usual care as a control or to an active intervention. General practitioners in the intervention group participated in repeated case-based training during a 2-year period. Patients whose CHD was treated by specialists (n = 167) served as an internal specialist comparison group. Altogether, 255 consecutive patients were included. Cox regression analysis was used to detect any survival benefit of the intervention.
Results: At 10 years, 22% of the patients in the intervention group had died as compared with 44% in the control group (P = .02), with a hazard ratio of 0.45 (95% confidence interval, 0.20-0.95). This difference was mainly due to reduced cardiovascular mortality in the intervention group (P = .01). In addition, the mortality rate of 22% in the intervention group was comparable to the rate of 23% seen in patients treated by a specialist.
Conclusions: Use of case-based training to implement evidence-based practice in primary care was associated with decreased mortality at 10 years in patients with CHD.