Objectives To compare secondary prevention care for patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, exploring particularly the influences due to frequency and regularity of primary care visits.
Setting Secondary prevention for patients (≥18 years) in the National Prescription Service administrative electronic health record database collated from 458 Australian general practice sites across all states and territories.
Design Retrospective cross-sectional and panel study. Patient and care-level characteristics were compared for differing CHD/stroke diagnoses. Associations between the type of cardiovascular diagnosis and medication prescription as well as risk factor assessment were examined using multivariable logistic regression.
Participants Patients with three or more general practice encounters within 2 years of their latest visit during 2016–2020.
Outcome measures Proportions and odds ratios (ORs) for (1) prescription of antihypertensives, antilipidaemics and antiplatelets and (2) assessment of blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in patients with stroke only compared against those with CHD only and those with both conditions.
Results There were 111 892 patients with CHD only, 27 863 with stroke only and 9791 with both conditions. Relative to patients with CHD, patients with stroke were underprescribed antihypertensives (70.8% vs 82.8%), antilipidaemics (63.1% vs 78.7%) and antiplatelets (42.2% vs 45.7%). With sociodemographic factors, comorbidities and level of care considered as covariates, the odds of non-prescription of any recommended secondary prevention medications were higher in patients with stroke only (adjusted OR 1.37; 95% CI (1.31, 1.44)) compared with patients with CHD only. Patients with stroke only were also more likely to have neither BP nor LDL-C monitored (adjusted OR 1.26; 95% CI (1.18, 1.34)). Frequent and regular general practitioner encounters were independently associated with the prescription of secondary prevention medications (p<0.001).
Conclusions Secondary prevention management is suboptimal in cardiovascular disease patients and worse post-stroke compared with post-CHD. More frequent and regular primary care encounters were associated with improved secondary prevention.
- primary care
- general practice
- standards of care
- evidence-based medicine
Data availability statement
Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.
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Contributors JY conducted the analysis and drafted the manuscript as the guarantor of the study and CC controlled the decision to publish. The overall study protocol and ethics to obtain data was led by CC. The current analysis plan was co-designed by JY and CC. All authors collaboratively provided comments and edited iterative versions of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests CC reports grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council and National Heart Foundation of Australia, outside the submitted work; JY reports that this work was submitted towards the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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