A screening campaign for high blood pressure was carried out in the Victorian township of Queenscliff in 1975. In late 1981, 99% of the population screened was identified as being alive or dead and, in the latter case, the date of death was ascertained. Survival curve analysis showed a significantly worse prognosis for those subjects diagnosed as hypertensive, despite a high prevalence of treatment and a specific screening programme. It is suggested that the results of controlled trials do not translate easily to uncontrolled situations and that mass-screening campaigns may not be an effective way of intervening in countries with more open medical systems.
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