Cardiovascular diseases are, along with cancer, the most frequent causes for mortality and morbidity in the industrialized nations. Numerous clinical efficient approaches to reduce the known risk factors have been introduced in clinical routine care; yet with quite limited success, e.g. modification of behavioural risk factors, drug treatment and the combination of both. On the population level only marginal changes have been demonstrated, i.e. the mortality from myocardial infarction and stroke remains high.

To answer questions about underlying factors, for this unsatisfactory status, we might profit tremendously from studies that examine the situation, where treatment of patients most frequently take place: in primary care. This approach pays attention to the General Practitioner's (GP) in their gate keeping function in health care. Information from primary care in particular is largely lacking as recently stated by the "Sachverständigenrat für die konzertierte Aktion im Gesundheitswesen" in 2001. The DETECT study has been designed to address these critical issues.

On 16th and 18th September 2003, 3,188 GPs completed a standardised assessment of the diagnostic and therapeutic profile of 55,518 unselected consecutive patients. All patients completed a questionnaire on their demographic data, their complaints, their illness history, their knowledge about selected diseases and their attitude towards those. A sub sample of 7,519 patients additionally attended a standardized laboratory screening program. In this screening the focus was on blood constituents connected with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, including e. g. cholesterol, lipoproteins, triglycerides and HbA1c. These patients were assessed a second time in the follow up period between September and December 2004.

What kind of information will DETECT provide?

I. From the cross sectional part (descriptive epidemiological part on 16th/18th September 2003)

II. From the longitudinal part

Changes of laboratory parameters and diagnoses after one year, in relation to:


The DETECT study is based on:

  1. Representative random sample of 7,053 GPs in Germany (general practitioners and internists serving as GPs)
  2. Prestudy to determine characteristics of doctors and settings (response rate: 3,795)
  3. Main study (16th/18th/09/2003) self-assessment of 55,518 (unselected consecutive) patients in 3,188 primary care settings with a patient questionnaire, subsequently physician assessment of each patient (recognition, diagnosis, severity, clinical global impression, prescription and intervention behaviour)
  4. Laboratory profile in a sub sample (n=7,519)
  5. Follow-up of this sub sample between September and December 2004 (including laboratory profile)