Patients with serious mental illness (SMI) and patients on antipsychotics (AP) have an elevated risk for cardiovascular diseases. In the Netherlands, the mental healthcare for these patients is increasingly taken care of by family practitioners (FP) as a result of a shift from secondary to primary care. Therefore, it is essential to increase our knowledge regarding the characteristics of this patient group and the (somatic) care provided by their FPs. The aim was to examine the rate of cardiovascular risk screening in patients with SMI or the use of AP in family practice.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of 151.238 patients listed in 24 family practices in the Netherlands. From electronic medical records we extracted data concerning diagnoses, measurement values of CVR factors, medication and frequency of visits over a 2 year period. Primary outcome was the rate of patients who were screened for CVR factors. We compared three groups: patients with SMI/AP without diabetes or CVD (SMI/AP-only), patients with SMI/AP and diabetes mellitus (SMI/AP + DM), patients with SMI/AP and a history of cardiovascular disease (SMI/AP + CVD). We explored factors associated with adequate screening using multilevel logistic regression.
We identified 1705 patients with SMI/AP, 834 with a SMI diagnosis, 1150 using AP. The screening rate for CVR in the SMI/AP-only group (n = 1383) was adequate in 8.5%. Screening was higher in the SMI/AP - +DM (n = 206, 68.4% adequate, OR 24.6 (95%CI, 17.3-35.1) and SMI/AP + CVD (n = 116, 26.7% adequate, OR 4.2 (95%CI, 2.7-6.6). A high frequency of visits, age, the use of AP and a diagnosis of COPD were associated with a higher screening rate. In addition we also examined differences between patients with SMI and patients using AP without SMI.
CVR screening in patients with SMI/AP is performed poorly in Dutch family practices. Acceptable screening rates were found only among SMI/AP patients with diabetes mellitus as comorbidity. The finding of a large group of AP users without a SMI diagnosis may indicate that FPs often prescribe AP off-label, lack information about the diagnosis, or use the wrong code.