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New Measures Improve Heart Care
Date:11/4/2007

Programs that simplified treatment choices led to better outcomes, research shows

SUNDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

New research shows this mantra works when it comes to controlling high blood pressure, which is the leading risk factor for premature death worldwide.

A streamlined, "back to the future" approach to treating hypertension helped more patients control their blood pressure than did working with often confusing national guidelines, according to a Canadian study released Sunday at the American Heart Association (AHA) annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

"This algorithm does result in better blood-pressure control in primary-care settings and, further, it is possible that this protocol or protocols like it may be a paradigm for a range of chronic diseases associated with poor control, especially those associated with risk factors for heart attack and stroke," said study author Dr. Ross D. Feldman, the R.W. Gunton Professor of Therapeutics at the University of Western Ontario.

"Based on the results, this is a very handy algorithm. It's very useful," added Dr. Sidney Smith, past president of the AHA and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "But always when you have a clinical trial, adherence rates are higher so it's important to look at this in a real-world setting."

Feldman added: "It's absolutely clear that we're facing an increasing global epidemic of hypertension. On the one hand, it's easy to diagnose and we have many effective treatments, yet in North America and worldwide, only one in three patients have their high blood pressure controlled."

During the first year after diagnosis, only about 50 percent of patients take their drugs and compliance falls off further after that. And a lot of this can be attributed to highly complex prescribing regimens of multiple drugs
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