medwireNews: Qualitative study results highlight the need for better understanding and management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-associated cardiovascular (CV) risk in primary care.
Of 233 US primary care providers who took part in the cross-sectional survey, just 15.0% reported actively initiating a discussion about CV risk with RA patients, while only 37.3% said they felt well prepared to manage CV risk. A total of 70.4% reported feeling comfortable prescribing CV medications for RA patients with comorbid CV disease, but this decreased to 50.6% for primary prevention in those without preexisting CV disease.
Moreover, the majority of participants said they were either “not at all satisfied” or “slightly satisfied” with medical education on RA-associated CV risk.
Therefore, “[t]here is a need for increased physician awareness of RA as a novel risk factor for [coronary artery disease] as well as the importance of managing this risk,” writes study author Stella Pak (Orange Regional Medical Center, New York, USA), recommending that “[e]ducation should begin early in medical school and residency.”
And the researcher concludes in Clinical Rheumatology: “A change in physician practice habits may lead to increased awareness among patients with RA about their increased cardiovascular risk and equip them to successfully implement preventive lifestyle modifications.”
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