Knowledge and attitude of physicians in a major teaching hospital towards atherosclerotic risk reduction therapy in patients with peripheral arterial disease
Department of Surgery, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Background: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a marker of advanced atherosclerosis with an elevated risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Although intensive risk reduction therapy is critical in reducing the adverse cardiovascular outcomes in patients with PAD, the awareness of this information among all physicians is felt to be low. Given the role of family physicians (FP), general internists (GI), cardiologists (C), and vascular surgeons (VS) in treating patients with PAD, we sought to determine their perceptions and knowledge of risk reduction therapy in these patients.
Methods and results: We conducted a cross-sectional self-administered survey of 84 physicians who work at a major teaching hospital. FP, GI, C, and VS represent 39%, 33%, 16%, and 12% of the surveyed physicians, respectively. The recommended targets of LDL-cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure in PAD patients were known to 37.3%, 94.1% and 35.3% of physicians, respectively. The majority of physicians reported to screen for risk factors in PAD. Although 86.3% of physicians would recommend antiplatelets therapy in PAD, only 17.6% would recommend angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors; 25.5% would recommend nicotine replacement therapy for smokers and 62.7% would recommend statins. Compared to other specialties, cardiologists had the lowest threshold, whereas GI had the highest threshold for initiating antiplatelets and statins for patients with PAD.
Conclusion: The perceptions towards risk reduction in PAD identify glaring knowledge and action gaps. Effective strategies to encourage health professionals to use risk reduction therapy are needed.
Keywords: peripheral arterial disease, risk reduction, atherosclerosis