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Successful cardiovascular risk reduction in Type 2 diabetes by nurse-led care using an open clinical algorithm


Ann Woodward, The Walton Diabetes Centre, University Hospital Aintree, Rice Lane, Liverpool L9 7AY, UK. E-mail:


Aims  To implement a protocol-driven, nurse-led cardiovascular risk reduction clinic using an open clinical algorithm. The primary aim of the clinic was to optimize blood pressure (BP) control; secondary aims were to reduce modifiable cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods  We studied 110 people with Type 2 diabetes attending a diabetes out-patient centre at University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool. Patients taking one or more antihypertensive drugs were selected for referral to the nurse-led clinic if BP was > 140/85 mmHg; there was no age threshold. An open clinical algorithm was designed to direct the nurse on the use of antihypertensive, statin and aspirin therapy plus lifestyle advice and concordance.

Results  Thirty-one percent of patients attending for a first visit to the nurse-led clinic had BP within target when measured to British Hypertension Society standards out of the consultant clinic. Mean BP was 150/76 mmHg compared with 178/88 mmHg (P < 0.001). Subsequently, BP was reduced to 130/68 mmHg (P < 0.001), this reduction being sustained at review 9 months later (mean BP 133/67 mmHg), with 87 (79%) achieving BP ≤ 140/85 mmHg. Treatment modalities were adjusted to reduce cardiovascular risk, including antihypertensive medication, lipid-lowering therapy and antiplatelet therapy. High-density lipoprotein-cholesterol improved from 1.2 ± 0.5 mmol/l to 1.4 ± 0.5 mmol/l (P = 0.004). The number of patients with microalbuminuria decreased from 41 (47%) to 25 (28%) (P = 0.02), with a fall in urinary albumin:creatinine ratio from 3.0 (1.3–7.9) to 1.8 (1.0–5.0) mg/mmol (P = 0.01). The number of smokers decreased from 22 (20%) to 14 (13%) (P = 0.01). Although not included as an intervention in the protocol, HbA1c improved to 8.1 ± 1.6% from 8.7 ± 1.6% (P < 0.001).

Conclusion  A protocol-driven, nurse-led clinic using an open clinical algorithm can be used effectively to manage cardiovascular risk reduction in Type 2 diabetes.