Objective: Our group and others have previously established that patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are significantly undertreated with respect to overall cardiovascular risk factor management, despite national guidelines to the contrary. In an effort to maximize risk factor control in our patients with PAD, we established a pharmacist-managed, physician-monitored algorithmic approach to the outpatient management of lipids in patients with PAD. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of this service on lipid screening and control in patients with PAD.
Methods: We analyzed the records of patients treated at a large, group-model, not-for-profit regional managed care system serving approximately 405,000 members. An electronic medical record provided full examination, laboratory, and pharmacy data for all patients. Pharmacy data were analyzed to determine prescriptions for lipid-lowering agents. Lipid control was assessed through fasting lipid data. Patients with validated PAD and the absence of clinical coronary artery disease (CAD) were offered the service between May 2003 and September 2004 and followed up for a minimum of 6 months.
Results: We administratively identified 5159 active patients with a diagnosis of PAD. Of these, 1075 could be validated with a noninvasive arterial study. The exclusion of 384 patients with a diagnosis of CAD resulted in a cohort of 691 patients. Of these, 90 patients were enrolled in the lipid service (study group), and 601 received standard care. Mean follow-up was 17.1 months. Screening fasting lipid profiles were found in 95.6% (86/90) of patients in the study group and only 66.9% (402/601) of the standard care patients (P < .0001). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) control was improved in the pharmacist-managed group, with 79.1% (68/86) achieving an LDL-C of less than 100 mg/dL in comparison to the standard care group (54.8% [219/400]; P < .0001). An LDL-C value of more than 130 mg/dL was noted in 1.2% and 14.0% (56/400) in the treatment and control groups, respectively (P < .001). Statin use was present in 51.9% (312/601) of the control group patients and 84.4% (76/90) of the pharmacist-managed group (P < .001).
Conclusions: Despite national consensus of PAD as a CAD equivalent, patients are currently undertreated with regard to atherosclerotic risk factor modification. Initiation of a pharmacist-managed, physician-monitored lipid service provides improved compliance with national guidelines.