Several studies have been published recently on the effect of calcium-antagonists in the treatment of hypertension and heart failure. Except for an American case-control study, in which negative results may have been caused by selection bias, other studies show that calcium-antagonists have a positive effect. They appear to reduce cardiovascular complications, lower mortality and slow down the progression of atherosclerosis. However, large trials of adequate design and force are in progress (STOP II, NORDIL, HOT, INSIGHT, ALLHAT). It is hoped that the results of these trials will clarify whether calcium-antagonist are warranted in the treatment of hypertension and associated cardiovascular disease.
Research has shown that lifestyle intervention has a promising effect in patients with coronary heart disease, but little is known about the practice of such intervention. To explore this issue a questionnaire was sent to all departments of internal medicine in Norway (N = 67). 58 hospitals responded. The results showed that most hospitals offered physical training (49 hospitals) and dietary intervention programmes (51 hospitals) to patients with coronary heart disease, but only six hospitals offered a smoking cessation programme. The hospitals expressed a desire to expand the existing programmes (especially dietary intervention) and establish new ones (in particular smoking cessation), but claimed that lack of personnel and funds limited their activity. Only a few hospitals record in the medical journal that a patient has been informed about the significance of changes in lifestyle.