Impact on hypertension control of a patient-held guideline: a randomised controlled trial

B. McKinstry, J. Hanley, David James Heaney, L. McCloughan, R. Elton, D. Webb

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18 Citations (Scopus)



Hypertension is generally poorly controlled in primary care. One possible intervention for improving control is the harnessing of patient expertise through education and encouragement to challenge their care.


To determine whether encouraging patients to manage their hypertension in an 'expert' manner, by providing them with information in a clear clinical guideline, coupled with an explicit exhortation to become involved in and to challenge their own care if appropriate, would improve their care.

Design of study

Single blind randomised controlled trial of detailed guideline versus standard information.


Single urban general practice over 1 year.


Patient-held guideline with written explicit exhortation to challenge care when appropriate. Two hundred and ninety-four of 536 eligible patients on the practice hypertension register were recruited, all of whom were randomised into one of two groups. Two hundred and thirty-six patients completed the study.


Primary outcome: average systolic blood pressure. Secondary outcomes: proportion of patients with blood pressure <150mmHg systolic and <90mmHg diastolic, average cholesterol, proportion of patients prescribed statins and aspirin according to guideline, hospital anxiety and depression score. No clinically, or statistically significant differences were found between intervention and control with respect to all parameters or in anxiety and depression levels. Statin and aspirin use improved throughout the course of the study in both groups. Statin use showed a trend (P = 0.02) in favour of control.


In this study there was no clinically significant perceived benefit to patients as a result of providing them with a hypertension guideline. Patient guidelines are currently planned for many chronic illnesses. It is important to determine the utility of such interventions before scarce resources are applied to them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-847
Number of pages5
JournalThe British Journal of General Practice
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • clinical trials
  • hypertension
  • physician-patient relations
  • primary health care
  • self-care


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