Open Access Open Badges Research article

Management of high-risk patients with hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy in Germany: differences between cardiac specialists in the inpatient and outpatient setting

Heinz Völler1*, Frank J Sonntag2, Joachim Thiery3, Karl Wegscheider4, Friedrich C Luft5 and Kurt Bestehorn67

Author Affiliations

1 Klinik am See, Seestrasse 84, D-15562 Rüdersdorf bei Berlin, Germany

2 Bundesverband Niedergelassener Kardiologen (BNK), Henstedt-Ulzburg, Germany

3 Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, University Hospital, Leipzig, Germany

4 Institute for Statistics and Econometry, University of Hamburg, Germany

5 Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center, Medical Faculty of the Charité, Berlin, Germany

6 Medical Department, MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH, Haar, Germany

7 Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, Technical University, Dresden, Germany

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:256  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-256

Published: 19 October 2006



Among patients with hypertension, those with established left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) represent a high risk cohort with poor prognosis. We aimed to investigate differences in characteristics and health care management of such patients treated as inpatients or outpatients by cardiac specialists.


Prospective cross-sectional study in patients with hypertension and LVH who were referred to either inpatient care (rehabilitation hospitals) or to outpatient care (cardiology practices).


A total of 6358 inpatients (59.6% males; mean age 66.6 years) and 2246 outpatients (59.5% males; mean age 63.2 years) were followed up for a mean of 23 vs. 52 days, respectively. Inpatients compared to outpatients had a significantly higher prevalence of coronary heart disease, history of stroke, renal failure or diabetes. Mean blood pressure of inpatients compared to outpatients was significantly lower both at entry (150/84 vs. 161/93 mmHg) and at end of follow-up (129/75 vs. 139/83 mmHg). After adjustment for baseline blood pressure and a propensity score, differences between out- and inpatients at end of follow-up were 8.0/5.1 mmHg in favour of inpatients. Blood pressure goals as specified by guidelines were not met by 32% of inpatients and 55% of outpatients.


Inpatients had a higher rate of comorbidities and more advanced atherosclerotic disease than outpatients. Control of hypertension of inpatients was already better on admission than in outpatients, and treatment intensity in this group was also higher during the observation period. While blood pressure lowering was substantial in both groups, there were still a high proportion of patients who did not achieve treatment goals at discharge.