The initial record of history and clinical findings has been studied in 278 patients attending three hypertension clinics. Half of these were randomly allocated to standard case notes and the other half to a special structured questionnaire record. The investigations carried out in a total of 521 patients with raised arterial pressures were examined. The records derived from the structured questionnaire were much more complete than the standard case notes but the difference was less obvious for a positive record than a negative one. None of the investigations was carried out in all patients, even though it was the policy of the clinics that most of them should be. A possible aetiological diagnosis was made in 28 patients and, at the time of writing, 3 patients had benefited from a surgical operation carried out as a result of investigation. These results raise the question of the quality of the initial care of hypertensive patients and suggest that the structured questionnaires might lead to an improvement. It remains to be established whether all the information collected does influence the outcome in patients with hypertension.
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