OBJECTIVE: To explore how well physicians who treat hypertension know the indications and contraindications for particular antihypertensive therapies, and how closely their opinions and practice of hypertension treatment agree with national guidelines. METHODS: We surveyed by mail a stratified random sample of 10 000 US cardiologists, internists, and general/family practitioners. This survey explored their knowledge, attitudes, and practices with respect to the treatment of hypertension. Responses were compared with national guidelines and product labeling at the time of the survey. Results were stratified by physician specialty. RESULTS: A total of 1023 physicians, or 10.2% of the sample, responded to the survey. Only 37.3% answered all four knowledge questions correctly, including 25.7% of general/family practitioners, 38.3% of internists, and 49.5% of cardiologists (p < 0.001). In their attitudes with respect to evaluating high blood pressure and establishing treatment goals, most respondents agreed with established guidelines. However, when asked how they would treat uncomplicated, mild hypertension only 23% limited their selection to diuretics and β-blockers in accordance with the guidelines. Cardiologists in particular were more likely than internists or general/family practitioners to choose other drug classes, such as angiostensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or calcium-channel blockers. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our survey suggest that national efforts to educate physicians about the increasingly complex armamentarium for hypertension and to persuade them to base their prescribing on the results of randomized controlled trials of primary prevention, must be continued.
- Physician's practice patterns
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)