Chile’s public healthcare sector hypertension control rates before and during the pandemic and HEARTS implementation

Barake et al.

Hypertension (arterial blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mmHg) is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, with the greatest burden of attributable deaths in Chile, having a national prevalence of 27.6%. In 2018, the implementation of HEARTS begun in primary health care centers of the Public Health System, with the aim of achieving increase in control rates, by raising the proportion of hypertensive individuals who meet blood pressure goals (< 140/90 mmHg for individuals 15–79 years old and of 150/90 mmHg for individuals 80 years and older), and thus contributing to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with this condition. This is a descriptive study that follows average treatment and control rates from the Public Health System between 2017–2021 obtained from health centers statistics reports during HEARTS implementation. Treatment and control rates remained at 57% and 39% respectively between 2017-2019. Between 2020 and 2021, in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, treatment and control rates decreased very significantly, reaching 46% and 26%, respectively, in December 2021, even though the number of centers reporting the implementation of HEARTS increased from 227 to 387 in this same period. Prior to the pandemic, during the last quarter of 2019, a decrease in cardiovascular health controls was already observed as a result of social protests. In light of the results, the technical pillars of the HEARTS Initiative have an important role in helping to recover the population control rates reached in 2019 and increasing the speed to achieve better hypertension control rates.

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