Report shows specialists other than cardiologists, IMs, FPs and GPs may not screen BP.


Patients who visit doctors other than a cardiologist, an internist, or general or family practitioner are less likely to be screened for hypertension, a study found.

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Researchers examined the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data on U.S. physician office visits in 2003 and 2004 for patients aged 18 and older. BP was measured in 56% of all office visits and in 93% of visits by hypertensive patients.


The proportion of office visits resulting in hypertension screening was 86%, 84%, and 85% for cardiologists, internists, and general or family physicians, respectively, compared with 35% for physicians in other specialties, according to a report in Hypertension (2008;51:1275-1281).


After adjusting for relevant patient characteristics, the odds of not being screened were 10-fold greater for patients who visited physicians who were not cardiologists, internists, or general or family physicians.


The study, by Jun Ma, MD, PhD, of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., and Randall S. Stafford, MD, PhD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif., also found that hypertensive patients in the South were 2.6 times as likely not to be treated as those in the Northeast.


The authors concluded that “intervention effectors are needed to further reduce the gaps between clinical practice and evidence-based guidelines for hypertension screening, treatment, and control in private physician practices across the United States.”