Atherosclerosis in the primary health care setting: a real-word data study

Raquel Ascenção*, Joana Alarcão, Francisco Araújo, João Costa, Francesca Fiorentino, Victor Gil, Miguel Gouveia, Francisco Lourenço, Alberto Mello e Silva, António Vaz Carneiro, Margarida Borges

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Introduction and Objectives: To characterize patients with atherosclerosis, a disease with a high socioeconomic impact, in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Health Region. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was carried out through the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Regional Health Administration primary health care database, extracting data on the clinical and demographic characteristics and resource use of adult primary health care users with atherosclerosis during 2016. Different criteria were used to define atherosclerosis (presence of clinical manifestations, atherothrombotic risk factors and/or consumption of drugs related to atherosclerosis). Comparisons between different subpopulations were performed using parametric tests. Results: A total of 318 692 users were identified, most of whom (n=224 845 users; 71%) had no recorded clinical manifestations. The subpopulation with clinical manifestations were older (72.0±11.5 vs. 71.3±11.0 years), with a higher proportion of men (58.0% vs. 45.9%), recorded hypertension (78.3% vs. 73.5%) and dyslipidemia (55.8% vs. 53.5%), and a lower proportion of recorded obesity (18.2% vs. 20.8%), compared to those without clinical manifestations (p<0.001). Mean blood pressure, LDL-C and glycated hemoglobin values were lower in the subpopulation with manifestations (142/74 vs. 146/76 mmHg, 101 vs. 108 mg/dl, and 6.80 vs. 6.84%, respectively; p<0.001). Each user with atherosclerosis attended 4.1±2.9 face-to-face medical consultations and underwent 8.6±10.0 laboratory test panels, with differences in subpopulations with and without clinical manifestations (4.4±3.2 vs. 4.0±2.8 and 8.3±10.3 vs. 8.7±9.8, respectively; p<0.001). Conclusions: About one in three adult primary health care users with atherosclerosis have clinical manifestations. The results suggest that control of cardiovascular risk factors is suboptimal in patients with atherosclerosis.
Translated title of the contributionA aterosclerose nos cuidados de saúde primários: estudo da vida real
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-484
Number of pages10
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Cardiologia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Primary health care
  • Portugal


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