Heart patients are often not treated in accordance with guidelines



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Many patients with cardiovascular disease are not given adequate drug therapy.

This is the result of an international study. In the current edition of Deutsches ?zteblatt International ( Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105[45]: 769-75), Uwe Zeimer et al. present the German results of this prospective, one-year survey.

512 doctors in Germany took part in the study. They enrolled 5594 patients in all, of whom 89.2% suffered from one or more cardiovascular diseases and 10.8% only exhibited risk factors. Documented risk factors included high blood pressure, disturbances in lipid metabolism, diabetes, and obesity. The results showed that several vascular beds were affected simultaneously in almost one third of patients. Many patients also suffered from other diseases requiring treatment, which were defined as risk factors. After one year, 2.1% of the patients with cardiovascular disease and 1.5% of the patients with at least three risk factors had died.

The study demonstrated that only three quarters of patients were given drugs to reduce fat levels. The same proportion was given drugs to dilute blood. Moreover, the doctors failed to exhaust the possibilities for drug treatment. This may be the reason that 27% of the patients with high blood pressure failed to reach the target blood pressure and 66% of the patients with disturbances in lipid metabolism failed to reach the target cholesterol level.

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