Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Recent national and international guidelines suggest strict treatment of CVD risk factors in RA. The aim of this study was to evaluate the self-reported adherence to CV prevention strategies in patients with RA.Method: RA patients visiting an outpatient clinic for strict CVD risk management received a validated questionnaire to evaluate adherence to CV prevention strategies. Strict treatment targets were defined and lifestyle recommendations were given following a prespecified protocol. CVD risk was assessed using the SCORE algorithm.Results: In total, 111 questionnaires were returned (response rate of 82%). A high 10-year CVD risk (≥ 20%) was present in 53%, but only 3% thought they had an increased CVD risk. A total of 53% of patients reported that they follow the doctors suggestions exactly and 75% reported finding it easy to follow the suggestions. Of the 69% of patients who were prescribed lipid-and/or blood pressure-lowering drugs, 90% reported taking all prescribed tablets. The advice to follow a diet was given to 42%, of whom 68% said they followed the advised diet. Physical exercise was advised to 67%, of whom 62% said they performed specific physical exercise on at least 3 days a week. The adherence to lifestyle recommendations was not significantly different across the CVD risk groups.Conclusions: RA patients tend to underestimate their CVD risk. The self-reported adherence of RA patients to CVD risk management was high concerning pharmaceutical interventions and moderate in the case of lifestyle interventions.

dx.doi.org/10.3109/03009742.2015.1028997, hdl.handle.net/1765/82098
Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Van Breukelen-van der Stoep, D.F, Zijlmans, J.M, van Zeben, D, Klop, B, van de Geijn, G.J.M, van der Meulen, N, … Castro Cabezas, M. (2015). Adherence to cardiovascular prevention strategies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, 44(6), 443–448. doi:10.3109/03009742.2015.1028997