A cross-sectional study evaluating cardiovascular risk and statin prescribing in the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network database
Johnston, Ian S.
Queenan, John A.
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Abstract Background Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada. Assessment and management of CVD risk is essential in reducing disease burden. This includes both clinical risk factors and socioeconomic factors, though few studies report on socioeconomic status in relation to CVD risk and treatment. The primary objective of this study was to estimate the cardiovascular risk of patients attending primary care practices across Canada; secondly, to evaluate concordance with care indicators suggested by current clinical practice guidelines for statin prescribing according to patients’ cardiovascular risk and socioeconomic status. Methods This cross-sectional observational study used the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) database, which is comprised of clinical data from primary care electronic medical records. Patients aged 35-75y with at least one visit to their primary care provider between 2012 and 2016 were included. Patients were assigned to a CVD risk category (high, medium, low) and a deprivation quintile was calculated for those with full postal code available. Descriptive analyses were used to determine the proportion of patients in each risk category. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the consistency of statin prescribing according to national clinical guidelines by risk category and deprivation quintile. Results A total of 324,526 patients were included. Of those, 116,947 (36%) of patients were assigned to a high CVD risk category, primarily older adults, males, and those with co-morbidities. There were statistically significant differences between least (quintile 1) and most (quintile 5) deprived socioeconomic quintiles, with those at high CVD risk disproportionately in Q5 (odds ratio 1.4). Overall, 48% of high-risk patients had at least one statin prescription in their record. Patients in the lower socioeconomic groups had a higher risk of statin treatment which deviated from clinical guidelines. Conclusions Primary care patients who are at high CVD risk are more often male, older, have more co-morbidities and be assigned to more deprived SES quintiles, compared to those at low CVD risk. Additionally, patients who experience more challenging socioeconomic situations may be less likely to receive CVD treatment that is consistent with care guidelines.