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Who should screen for hyperlipidaemia in RA patients? Rheumatologists or primary care physicians?

Rheumatology Network reports on the findings of a study published in BMC Rheumatology led by HSS rheumatologist Iris Navarro-Millan, MD and colleagues, which showed rheumatologists are “conflicted” over whether screening and treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients for hyperlipidemia falls within their remit.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as hyperlidipaemia are not identified or managed in RA patients as it often falls through the gap between rheumatology and primary care provision. The researchers conducted a series of structured focus groups with rheumatologists and primary care doctors nationwide to understand why this is happening. While primary care physicians believe that reducing cardiovascular risk of patients is part of their role, they do not know enough a bout how lipid lowering treatment could influence symptoms of RA or how inflammation from RA disease and treatment may influence lipid profiles to manage risk confidently. Both groups of doctors also said that challenges in coordinating care between them also acted as a barrier to screening for and managing hyperlipidaemia.

The researchers wrote, “Our results and that of others support the need for patients with rheumatoid arthritis to have a primary care physician, which might not only increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease screening itself but also enable the implementation of interventions that can increase cardiovascular disease risk screening and reduction.”

Read the full article at Rheumatologynetwork.com.