To determine whether sex differences exist in the management of patients with a history of coronary heart disease (CHD) in primary care.
General practice records of patients aged ≥18 years with a history of CHD in a large general practice dataset in Australia, MedicineInsight, were analysed. Sex-specific, age-standardised proportions of patients prescribed with recommended medications; assessed for cardiovascular risk factors; and achieved treatment targets according to the General Practice Management Plan were reported.
Records of 130 926 patients (47% women) from 438 sites were available from 2014 to 2018. Women were less likely to be prescribed with recommended medications (prescribed ≥3 medications: women 44%, men 61%; p<0.001). Younger patients, especially women aged <45 years, were substantially underprescribed (aged <45 years prescribed ≥3 medications: women 2%, men 8%; p<0.001). Lower proportions of women were assessed for cardiovascular risk factors (blood test for lipids: women 70%–76%, men 77%–81%; p<0.001). Body size was not commonly assessed (body mass index: women 59%, men 62%; p<0.001; waist: women 23%, men 25%; p<0.001). Higher proportions of women than men achieved targets for most risk factors (achieved ≥4 targets in patients assessed for all risk factors: women 82%, men 76%).
Gaps in preventative management including prescription of indicated medications and risk factor monitoring have been reported from the late 1990s and this large-scale general practice data analysis indicate they still persist. Moreover, the gap is larger in women compared to men. We need new ways to address these gaps and the sex inequity.