The burden of cardiovascular morbidity in a European Mediterranean population with multimorbidity: a cross-sectional study

Concepción Violán, Néker Bejarano-Rivera, Quintí Foguet-Boreu, Albert Roso Llorach, Mariona Pons-Vigués, Miguel Martin Mateo, Enriqueta Pujol-Ribera

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    © 2016 The Author(s). Background: Cardiovascular diseases are highly represented in multimorbidity patterns. Nevertheless, few studies have analysed the burden of these diseases in the population with multimorbidity. The objective of this study was to identify and describe the cardiovascular diseases among the patients with multimorbidity. Methods: We designed a cross-sectional study in patients ≥19 years old assigned to 251 primary health care centres in Catalonia, Spain. The main outcome was cardiovascular morbidity burden, defined as the presence of one or more of 24 chronic cardiovascular diseases in multimorbid patients (≥2 chronic conditions). Two groups were defined, with and without multimorbidity; the multimorbidity group was further divided into cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular subgroups. The secondary outcomes were: modifiable major cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes) and cardiovascular risk score (REGICOR, Registre Gironí del Cor). Other variables analysed were: sex, age (19-24, 25-44, 45-64, 65-79, and 80+ years), number of chronic diseases, urban setting, active toxic habits (smoking and alcohol), physical parameters and laboratory tests. Results: A total of 1,749,710 individuals were included (mean age, 47.4 years [SD: 17.8]; 50.7 % women), of which nearly half (46.8 %) had multimorbidity (95 % CI: 46.9-47.1). In patients with multimorbidity,, the cardiovascular burden was 54.1 % of morbidity (95 % CI: 54.0-54.2) and the four most prevalent cardiovascular diseases were uncomplicated hypertension (75.3 %), varicose veins of leg (20.6 %), “other” heart disease (10.5 %) and atrial fibrillation/flutter (6.7 %). In the cardiovascular morbidity subgroup, 38.2 % had more than one cardiovascular disease. The most prevalent duet and triplet combinations were uncomplicated hypertension & lipid disorder (38.8 %) and uncomplicated hypertension & lipid disorder & non-insulin dependent diabetes (11.3 %), respectively. By age groups, the same duet was the most prevalent in patients aged 45-80 years and in men aged 25-44 years. In women aged 19-44, varicose veins of leg & anxiety disorder/anxiety was the most prevalent; in men aged 19-24, it was uncomplicated hypertension & obesity. Patients with multimorbidity showed a higher cardiovascular risk profile than the non-multimorbidity group. Conclusions: More than 50 % percent of patients with multimorbidity had cardiovascular diseases, the most frequent being hypertension. The presence of cardiovascular risk factors and the cardiovascular risk profile were higher in the multimorbidity group than the non-multimorbidity group. Hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidaemia constituted the most prevalent multimorbidity pattern.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    JournalBMC Family Practice
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2016


    • Cardiovascular morbidity
    • Cardiovascular risk factors
    • Comorbidity
    • Electronic health records
    • Multimorbidity
    • Primary health care


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