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OBJECTIVES: To characterise gaps in antihypertensive treatment in people with hypertension and statin treatment in people with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in a large urban population and quantify the health and economic impacts of their optimisation. DESIGN: A cross-sectional population study and a long-term CVD decision model. SETTING: Primary care, UK. PARTICIPANTS: All adults with diagnosed hypertension or CVD in a population of about 1 million people, served by 123 primary care practices in London, UK in 2019. INTERVENTIONS: Following UK clinical guidelines, all adults with diagnosed hypertension were categorised into optimal, suboptimal and untreated groups with respect to their antihypertensive treatment, and all adults with diagnosed CVD were categorised in the same manner with respect to their statin treatment. OUTCOMES: Proportion of patients suboptimally treated or untreated. Projected cardiovascular events avoided, years and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained and healthcare costs saved with optimised treatments. RESULTS: 21 954 of the 91 828 adults with hypertension (24%; mean age 59 years; 49% women) and 9062 of the 23 723 adults with CVD (38%; mean age 69 years; 43% women) were not optimally treated with antihypertensive or statin treatment, respectively. Per 1000 additional patients optimised over 5 years, hypertension treatment is projected to prevent 25 (95% CI 16 to 32) major vascular events (MVEs) and 7 (3 to 10) vascular deaths, statin treatment, 28 (22 to 33) MVEs and 6 (4 to 7) vascular deaths. Over their lifespan, a patient with uncontrolled hypertension aged 60-69 years is projected to gain 0.64 (95% CI 0.36 to 0.87) QALYs with optimised hypertension treatment, and a similarly aged patient with previous CVD not optimally treated with statin is projected to gain 0.3 (0.24 to 0.37) QALYs with optimised statin treatment. In both cases, the hospital cost savings minus extra medication costs were about £1100 per person over remaining lifespan. CONCLUSIONS: Optimising cardiovascular treatments can cost-effectively reduce cardiovascular risk and improve life expectancy.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





health policy, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, preventive medicine, primary care, quality in health care, Adult, Aged, Antihypertensive Agents, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Hypertension, Male, Middle Aged, United Kingdom, Urban Population