GP wins award for hypertension research

Researchers led by a GP academic who showed how the NHS could more effectively diagnose hypertension while saving millions of pounds have won a national award.

From left to right: researcher Kate Lovibond, RCGP President Dr Iona Heath, Professor Richard McManus
From left to right: researcher Kate Lovibond, RCGP President Dr Iona Heath, Professor Richard McManus

Birmingham GP Professor Richard McManus and his team won the stroke category at the 2011 RCGP and Novartis Research Paper of the Year Awards for their research published in The Lancet last August.

The study proved ambulatory BP monitoring was the most cost-effective way of diagnosing high BP for men and women of all ages. The paper led NICE to recommend its use in guidance published last summer.

Professor McManus, said: 'The diagnosis of hypertension has traditionally been based on BP measurements in the clinic, but home and ambulatory measurements better correlate with cardiovascular outcome, and ambulatory monitoring is more accurate than both clinic and home monitoring. Our research showed ambulatory BP monitoring is also the most cost effective.'

Professor Frank Sullivan, award panel chair, said: 'This study correlated cost effectiveness with patient quality of life - the economic perspective is important for GPs, as this is a common issue they face. This study may prove pivotal in a change in practice, potentially leading to significant gains in patient care and outcomes.'

Ambulatory BP monitoring for diagnosis of hypertension is being considered as a QOF indicator and NICE is currently running pilots in practices across the UK.

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