Background: The successful implementation of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines relies heavily on primary care physicians (PCPs) providing risk factor evaluation, intervention and patient education. The aim of this study was to ascertain the degree of awareness and implementation of the Spanish adaptation of the European guidelines on CVD prevention in clinical practice (CEIPC guidelines) among PCPs.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of PCPs was conducted in Spain between January and June 2011. A random sample of 1,390 PCPs was obtained and stratified by region. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: More than half (58%) the physicians were aware of and knew the recommendations, and 62% of those claimed to use them in clinical practice, with general physicians (without any specialist accreditation) being less likely to so than family doctors. Most PCPs (60%) did not assess cardiovascular risk, with the limited time available in the surgery being cited as the greatest barrier by 81%. The main reason to be sceptical about recommendations, reported by 71% of physicians, was that there are too many guidelines. Almost half the doctors cited the lack of training and skills as the greatest barrier to the implementation of lifestyle and behavioural change recommendations.
Conclusions: Most PCPs were aware of the Spanish adaptation of the European guidelines on CVD prevention (CEIPC guidelines) and knew their content. However, only one third of PCPs used the guidelines in clinical practice and less than half CVD risk assessment tools.