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Missed opportunities in cardiovascular disease prevention?: low rates of hypertension recognition for women at medicine and obstetrics-gynecology clinics

Younger women use both internal medicine and obstetrics-gynecology (OBGYN) clinics as primary sources of health care. However, the role of OBGYN clinics in cardiovascular disease prevention is largely unexplored. The objective of this study was to examine rates of hypertension recognition in women<50 years of age who presented with elevated blood pressures in family practice and internal medicine (medicine) OBGYN clinics and to compare these rates across clinic type. The study's population consisted of 34 627 nonpregnant women ages 18 to 49 years with new-onset hypertension (defined as 2 consecutive visits with elevated blood pressures of systolic blood pressure>/=140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure>/=90 mm Hg with no previous hypertension history) from 2002 to 2006. Multivariate logistic regressions predicting the clinical recognition of hypertension (a recorded diagnosis of hypertension and/or an antihypertensive prescription by any provider within 1 year of the second elevated blood pressure) assessed the association between hypertension recognition and the clinic where the second elevated blood pressure was recorded. Analysis showed that hypertension was recognized in <33% of women with new-onset hypertension. Women whose second consecutive elevated blood pressure was recorded in OBGYN clinics were less likely to be recognized as having hypertension within 12 months by any provider compared with women whose second consecutive elevated blood pressure was recorded in a medicine clinic (odds ratio: 0.51 [95% CI: 0.48 to 0.54]). This study suggests that further attention be paid to identifying and treating cardiovascular disease risk factors in women<50 years of age presenting in both medicine and OBGYN clinics and that improved coordination across care settings has the potential to improve cardiovascular disease prevention in young women.

Authors: Schmittdiel J; Selby JV; Swain B; Daugherty SL; Leong TK; Ho M; Margolis KL; O'Connor P; Magid DJ; Bibbins-Domingo K

Hypertension. 2011 Apr;57(4):717-22. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

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