Research Article

Community care compared with hospital outpatient care for hypertensive patients.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.284.6315.554 (Published 20 February 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:554
  1. C J Bulpitt,
  2. M J Daymond,
  3. C T Dollery

    Abstract

    Three hundred and seventy-six patients with treated diastolic blood pressures of less than 105 mm Hg and no history of accelerated hypertension or renal failure were selected from among those attending the Hammersmith Hospital hypertension clinic. Their average lying treated blood pressure was 146 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic and average age 56 years; 18% were black, 6% Asian, and 76% white. The patients were mostly having multiple treatment, 90% receiving a diuretic, 35% methyldopa, 33% propranolol, 18% atenolol, 9% hydrallazine, and 7% bethanidine. They were randomly allocated to either two years of further hospital outpatient care or referred back to their general practitioners. During the two years 19 (10%) of the 187 patients followed up in hospital defaulted and three had their treatment discontinued. Twelve (6%) of the 189 followed up by their general practitioners defaulted from follow-up and nine had their treatment discontinued. At the end of the trial the average lying blood pressure was 148 mm Hg systolic and 88 mm Hg diastolic in the hospital group and 149 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic in the general practice group. The change in blood pressure was calculated for each individual and showed an average fall of 1.6 mm Hg in standing diastolic pressure in the hospital group and a rise of 1.4 mm Hg in the general practice group (p less than 0.05). The 90% confidence limits for a difference in standing diastolic pressure between the groups were 1 and 5 mm Hg with the pressure lower in the hospital group. General practice care was not quite as effective in controlling blood pressure as continued specialist supervision over two years in this selected group of treated outpatients with mild or moderate hypertension, but these results show that the discharge back to general practitioners of patients who are well controlled after hospital treatment is a sensible policy.