Atherosclerotic disease and risk factor modification in Saudi Arabia: a call to action
The Peripheral Vascular Disease Research Chair and Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Purpose: Atherosclerotic disease (AD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and in Saudi Arabia. Intensive risk reduction therapy plays a major role in reducing adverse cardiovascular outcomes in patients with AD. The level of awareness of this important fact amongst physicians (family physicians, general internists, cardiologists and vascular surgeons) in managing these patients in Saudi Arabia is not currently known. This study was conducted to examine the perceptions and knowledge of risk reduction therapy in patients with AD amongst physicians in Saudi Arabia in two clinical presentations; coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Materials and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional self-administered survey of 897 physicians at different hospitals in four provinces in Saudi Arabia.
Results: The recommended targets of low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), blood glucose, and blood pressure in patients with CAD and PAD were known as 40% and 36%; 70% and 66%; and 32% and 28% of physicians, respectively. The initiation of antiplatelet medications, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, statins, and nicotine replacement therapy for smokers in patients with CAD and PAD were recommended by 98% and 97%; 52% and 34%; 61% and 56%; and 50% and 43% of physicians, respectively. Compared to other specialties, cardiologists had the lowest threshold for initiating risk reduction therapy, whereas vascular surgeons had the highest threshold.
Conclusion: The level of physician awareness of atherosclerosis risk reduction therapy across Saudi Arabia has revealed knowledge and action gaps. A call to action to implement effective strategies to encourage health professionals to use risk reduction therapy and increase public awareness is needed.
Keywords: coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, risk reduction, atherosclerosis
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