Hypertension prevalence, coding and control in an urban primary care setting in the UK between 2014 and 2021

Karol Basta*, Lesedi Ledwaba-Chapman, Hiten Dodhia, Mark Ashworth, David Whitney, Kathryn Dalrymple, Yanzhong Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

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Hypertension is a leading preventable cause of mortality, yet high rates of undiagnosed and uncontrolled hypertension continue. The burden falls most heavily on some ethnic minorities and the socially deprived, with the COVID-19 pandemic having further widened inequalities. We sought to determine the prevalence and predictors of unmeasured blood pressure (BP), uncoded elevated BP and uncontrolled hypertension in primary care across 2014–2021.

A population-based cohort study using data from all 41 general practices in a socioeconomically diverse inner-city borough. BP measurements, sociodemographic, lifestyle and clinical factors were extracted from anonymized primary care data. Hypertension and BP control were defined using NICE guidelines. Associations between patient characteristics and hypertension outcomes were identified using logistical regression modelling.

Of 549 082 patients, 39.5% had unmeasured BP; predictors included male sex [AOR 2.40, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 2.26–2.43] and registration in the pandemic years. Of 71 970 adults with elevated BP, 36.0% were uncoded; predictors included obesity (AOR 2.51, 95% CI 2.42–2.60) and increasing age. Of 44 648 adults on the hypertension register, 46.8% had uncontrolled hypertension; predictors included black ethnicity compared to white (AOR 1.54, 95% CI 1.41–1.68) and cardiovascular co-morbidities (AOR 1.23, 95% CI 1.21–1.25). Social deprivation was only weakly or not significantly associated with hypertension outcomes.

The burden of uncoded elevated BP and uncontrolled hypertension is high. Obesity and male sex were associated with uncoded elevated BP and uncontrolled hypertension. Black ethnicity was associated with uncontrolled hypertension. Initiatives are needed to optimize hypertension coding and control, with an emphasis on specific population subgroups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-359
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of hypertension
Issue number2
Early online date2 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2024

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