Management of hypertension in the elderly: attitudes of general practitioners and hospital physicians.
Ford GA., Asghar MN.
1. The attitudes of general practitioners and hospital physicians to the management of hypertension in the elderly, were examined by responses to a postal questionnaire distributed within the Northern Region, concerning the management of a healthy 75 year old male non-smoker with sustained diastolic or isolated systolic hypertension. 2. Two hundred and fourteen (64%) general practitioners and 127 (70%) hospital physicians responded to the questionnaire. General practitioners stated they would most commonly measure to the nearest 2 mm Hg (47%) as compared with nearest 5 mm Hg (61%) by physicians; P < 0.05. When measuring diastolic blood pressure 16% general practitioners and 31% physicians would use phase IV sounds; P < 0.01. 3. Median levels of hypertension, confirmed by repeated readings, at which antihypertensive therapy would be commenced were similar: 180 (150-230)/100(90-120) mm Hg vs 180 (150-200)/100 (90-120) mm Hg; median (range). The stated use of non-pharmacological methods to lower blood pressure before starting drug therapy was similar (74% vs 63%). General practitioners were more likely to prescribe a thiazide diuretic (70% vs 54%) and less likely to prescribe a calcium channel blocker (14% vs 28%) as first line therapy; data for diastolic hypertension, P < 0.001. 4. Considerable variation exists amongst both general practitioners and physicians in their stated assessment and management of a healthy elderly non-smoking male with sustained hypertension. General practitioners and physicians have similar stated thresholds for treating hypertension but differ in their choice of first line therapy. (ABTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)