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AHA: Program Improves Blood Pressure in Veterans

Improves blood pressure measurements, patient education and evaluation of providers

FRIDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- A program that improves blood pressure measurements, improves patient education and evaluates providers helps hypertensive veterans improve their blood pressure control, according to a study presented this week at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Conference in Baltimore.

Neesha N. Choma, M.D., and colleagues from Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville, examined the ability of four interventions (improving blood pressure measurements, increasing patient education, emphasizing hypertension guidelines, and emphasizing program goals and obtaining feedback of providers and firms) to improve blood pressure control among 53,936 veterans who had an outpatient visit for hypertension at two teaching hospitals and nine community-based outpatient clinics.

The researchers found that over 39 weeks (21 weeks pre-intervention and 18 weeks post-intervention), 63 percent of patients achieved a blood pressure control of 140/90 mm Hg or less. The interventions significantly improved absolute blood pressure control by 2.5 percent, and all institutions except one teaching hospital showed improvements.

"Blood pressure control improved 2.5 percent over the intervention period translating into another 1,349 persons who achieved control," Choma and colleagues conclude. "Implementing focused and relatively inexpensive interventions has positively impacted the quality of hypertension care locally."

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