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.,
Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Van Breukelen-van der Stoep, D., Zijlmans, M., van Zeben, D., Klop, B., van de Geijn, G.-J., 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