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      Atherosclerotic disease and risk factor modification in Saudi Arabia: a call to action


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          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.


          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.


          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.

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          Most cited references20

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          Collaborative meta-analysis of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy for prevention of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke in high risk patients.

          To determine the effects of antiplatelet therapy among patients at high risk of occlusive vascular events. Collaborative meta-analyses (systematic overviews). Randomised trials of an antiplatelet regimen versus control or of one antiplatelet regimen versus another in high risk patients (with acute or previous vascular disease or some other predisposing condition) from which results were available before September 1997. Trials had to use a method of randomisation that precluded prior knowledge of the next treatment to be allocated and comparisons had to be unconfounded-that is, have study groups that differed only in terms of antiplatelet regimen. 287 studies involving 135 000 patients in comparisons of antiplatelet therapy versus control and 77 000 in comparisons of different antiplatelet regimens. "Serious vascular event": non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, or vascular death. Overall, among these high risk patients, allocation to antiplatelet therapy reduced the combined outcome of any serious vascular event by about one quarter; non-fatal myocardial infarction was reduced by one third, non-fatal stroke by one quarter, and vascular mortality by one sixth (with no apparent adverse effect on other deaths). Absolute reductions in the risk of having a serious vascular event were 36 (SE 5) per 1000 treated for two years among patients with previous myocardial infarction; 38 (5) per 1000 patients treated for one month among patients with acute myocardial infarction; 36 (6) per 1000 treated for two years among those with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack; 9 (3) per 1000 treated for three weeks among those with acute stroke; and 22 (3) per 1000 treated for two years among other high risk patients (with separately significant results for those with stable angina (P=0.0005), peripheral arterial disease (P=0.004), and atrial fibrillation (P=0.01)). In each of these high risk categories, the absolute benefits substantially outweighed the absolute risks of major extracranial bleeding. Aspirin was the most widely studied antiplatelet drug, with doses of 75-150 mg daily at least as effective as higher daily doses. The effects of doses lower than 75 mg daily were less certain. Clopidogrel reduced serious vascular events by 10% (4%) compared with aspirin, which was similar to the 12% (7%) reduction observed with its analogue ticlopidine. Addition of dipyridamole to aspirin produced no significant further reduction in vascular events compared with aspirin alone. Among patients at high risk of immediate coronary occlusion, short term addition of an intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonist to aspirin prevented a further 20 (4) vascular events per 1000 (P<0.0001) but caused 23 major (but rarely fatal) extracranial bleeds per 1000. Aspirin (or another oral antiplatelet drug) is protective in most types of patient at increased risk of occlusive vascular events, including those with an acute myocardial infarction or ischaemic stroke, unstable or stable angina, previous myocardial infarction, stroke or cerebral ischaemia, peripheral arterial disease, or atrial fibrillation. Low dose aspirin (75-150 mg daily) is an effective antiplatelet regimen for long term use, but in acute settings an initial loading dose of at least 150 mg aspirin may be required. Adding a second antiplatelet drug to aspirin may produce additional benefits in some clinical circumstances, but more research into this strategy is needed.
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            Peripheral arterial disease detection, awareness, and treatment in primary care.

            Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a manifestation of systemic atherosclerosis that is common and is associated with an increased risk of death and ischemic events, yet may be underdiagnosed in primary care practice. To assess the feasibility of detecting PAD in primary care clinics, patient and physician awareness of PAD, and intensity of risk factor treatment and use of antiplatelet therapies in primary care clinics. The PAD Awareness, Risk, and Treatment: New Resources for Survival (PARTNERS) program, a multicenter, cross-sectional study conducted at 27 sites in 25 cities and 350 primary care practices throughout the United States in June-October 1999. A total of 6979 patients aged 70 years or older or aged 50 through 69 years with history of cigarette smoking or diabetes were evaluated by history and by measurement of the ankle-brachial index (ABI). PAD was considered present if the ABI was 0.90 or less, if it was documented in the medical record, or if there was a history of limb revascularization. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) was defined as a history of atherosclerotic coronary, cerebral, or abdominal aortic aneurysmal disease. Frequency of detection of PAD; physician and patient awareness of PAD diagnosis; treatment intensity in PAD patients compared with treatment of other forms of CVD and with patients without clinical evidence of atherosclerosis. PAD was detected in 1865 patients (29%); 825 of these (44%) had PAD only, without evidence of CVD. Overall, 13% had PAD only, 16% had PAD and CVD, 24% had CVD only, and 47% had neither PAD nor CVD (the reference group). There were 457 patients (55%) with newly diagnosed PAD only and 366 (35%) with PAD and CVD who were newly diagnosed during the survey. Eighty-three percent of patients with prior PAD were aware of their diagnosis, but only 49% of physicians were aware of this diagnosis. Among patients with PAD, classic claudication was distinctly uncommon (11%). Patients with PAD had similar atherosclerosis risk factor profiles compared with those who had CVD. Smoking behavior was more frequently treated in patients with new (53%) and prior PAD (51%) only than in those with CVD only (35%; P <.001). Hypertension was treated less frequently in new (84%) and prior PAD (88%) only vs CVD only (95%; P <.001) and hyperlipidemia was treated less frequently in new (44%) and prior PAD (56%) only vs CVD only (73%, P<.001). Antiplatelet medications were prescribed less often in patients with new (33%) and prior PAD (54%) only vs CVD only (71%, P<.001). Treatment intensity for diabetes and use of hormone replacement therapy in women were similar across all groups. Prevalence of PAD in primary care practices is high, yet physician awareness of the PAD diagnosis is relatively low. A simple ABI measurement identified a large number of patients with previously unrecognized PAD. Atherosclerosis risk factors were very prevalent in PAD patients, but these patients received less intensive treatment for lipid disorders and hypertension and were prescribed antiplatelet therapy less frequently than were patients with CVD. These results demonstrate that underdiagnosis of PAD in primary care practice may be a barrier to effective secondary prevention of the high ischemic cardiovascular risk associated with PAD.
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              Mortality over a period of 10 years in patients with peripheral arterial disease.

              Previous investigators have observed a doubling of the mortality rate among patients with intermittent claudication, and we have reported a fourfold increase in the overall mortality rate among subjects with large-vessel peripheral arterial disease, as diagnosed by noninvasive testing. In this study, we investigated the association of large-vessel peripheral arterial disease with rates of mortality from all cardiovascular diseases and from coronary heart disease. We examined 565 men and women (average age, 66 years) for the presence of large-vessel peripheral arterial disease by means of two noninvasive techniques--measurement of segmental blood pressure and determination of flow velocity by Doppler ultrasound. We identified 67 subjects with the disease (11.9 percent), whom we followed prospectively for 10 years. Twenty-one of the 34 men (61.8 percent) and 11 of the 33 women (33.3 percent) with large-vessel peripheral arterial disease died during follow-up, as compared with 31 of the 183 men (16.9 percent) and 26 of the 225 women (11.6 percent) without evidence of peripheral arterial disease. After multivariate adjustment for age, sex, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the relative risk of dying among subjects with large-vessel peripheral arterial disease as compared with those with no evidence of such disease was 3.1 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.9 to 4.9) for deaths from all causes, 5.9 (95 percent confidence interval, 3.0 to 11.4) for all deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 6.6 (95 percent confidence interval, 2.9 to 14.9) for deaths from coronary heart disease. The relative risk of death from causes other than cardiovascular disease was not significantly increased among the subjects with large-vessel peripheral arterial disease. After the exclusion of subjects who had a history of cardiovascular disease at base line, the relative risks among those with large-vessel peripheral arterial disease remained significantly elevated. Additional analyses revealed a 15-fold increase in rates of mortality due to cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease among subjects with large-vessel peripheral arterial disease that was both severe and symptomatic. Patients with large-vessel peripheral arterial disease have a high risk of death from cardiovascular causes.

                Author and article information

                Vasc Health Risk Manag
                Vasc Health Risk Manag
                Vascular Health and Risk Management
                Vascular Health and Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                28 May 2012
                : 8
                : 349-355
                The Peripheral Vascular Disease Research Chair and Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Mohammed Al-Omran, King Khalid University Hospital, Department of Surgery, PO Box 7805(37), Riyadh 11472, Saudi Arabia, Tel +96 614 679 097, Fax +96 614 679 493, Email malomran@ 123456ksu.edu.sa
                © 2012 Al-Omran, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Research

                Cardiovascular Medicine
                coronary artery disease,peripheral arterial disease,risk reduction,atherosclerosis


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