Objectives: To monitor the documentation of blood pressure measurements and other cardiovascular risk factors in general practice patients with hypertension.
Method: Twenty-five case notes of patients diagnosed as hypertensive were randomly selected from each of 58 participating general practitioners in suburban general practice in Adelaide, South Australia and were monitored by two registered nurses.
Main outcome measures: to assess whether blood pressure readings, weight, smoking history, alcohol intake and family history were documented, and whether electrocardiogram, plasma lipids, urinalysis and biochemical screen (which includes blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, glucose, electrolytes and uric acid) had been undertaken.
Results: Data from 1446 hypertensive patients showed that for the last three blood pressure values recorded, 483 (33%) had an average level of 140/90 mm Hg or less and 1100 (76%) had an average of 160/95 mm Hg or less. The other cardiovascular risk factors selected were variably recorded, with biochemical screen being most commonly recorded [1198 (83%)] and family history [423 (29%)] the least.
Conclusions: Inadequacies in the control of hypertension and in the documentation of other cardiovascular risk factors suggest that further educational initiatives are required in this common chronic illness.