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Patients Missing Out On Preventive Heart Attack Treatments?

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Patients Missing Out On Preventive Heart Attack Treatments?

A study in the latest issue of the Journal of Primary Health Care (JPHC) found that, among a sample of New Zealand primary care patients with known heart disease, about a third may not be getting treated.

Current evidence shows that people with known heart disease should be prescribed blood pressure (BP) and lipid lowering (LL) drugs regardless of whether or not their blood pressure and lipid levels are high, because this reduces their chances of having more cardiovascular disease (CVD) events.

A group of researchers from the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland conducted a study of 7622 patients aged 35-74 with known CVD, who had been assessed by their GP between July 2006 and October 2009. Both BPL and LL medications were found to be under-utilised in patients with known CVD, with only two-thirds of these patients being prescribed both.

The study also revealed that younger people (under 55 years) are less likely to be prescribed treatment than older patients, and argues that because younger people have longer to live, they have the most to gain from medication that reduces their risk.

JPHC guest editorial writer F D Richard Hobbs, Professor of Primary Care, at the University of Birmingham says "these young high-risk patients have the most to gain individually and as family members. These important data highlight a major challenge to health care providers: to shift the emphasis for treatment from individual risk factors to global risk intervention and, particularly, to overcome this inverse age bias."

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