Objective: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a high risk of premature cardiovascular disease (CVD). We developed CVD quality indicators (QI) for screening and use in rheumatology clinics.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted of the literature on CVD risk reduction in RA and the general population. Based on the best practices identified from this review, a draft set of 12 candidate QI were presented to a Canadian panel of rheumatologists and cardiologists (n = 6) from 3 academic centers to achieve consensus on the QI specifications. The resulting 11 QI were then evaluated by an online modified-Delphi panel of multidisciplinary health professionals and patients (n = 43) to determine their relevance, validity, and feasibility in 3 rounds of online voting and threaded discussion using a modified RAND/University of California, Los Angeles Appropriateness Methodology.
Results: Response rates for the online panel were 86%. All 11 QI were rated as highly relevant, valid, and feasible (median rating ≥ 7 on a 1-9 scale), with no significant disagreement. The final QI set addresses the following themes: communication to primary care about increased CV risk in RA; CV risk assessment; defining smoking status and providing cessation counseling; screening and addressing hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes; exercise recommendations; body mass index screening and lifestyle counseling; minimizing corticosteroid use; and communicating to patients at high risk of CVD about the risks/benefits of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.
Conclusion: Eleven QI for CVD care in patients with RA have been developed and are rated as highly relevant, valid, and feasible by an international multidisciplinary panel.
Keywords: CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES; HEALTHCARE QUALITY INDICATORS; PRIMARY PREVENTION; RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS.