Background: Greater efforts are needed to overcome the worldwide reported low achievement of LDL-c targets. This survey aimed to dissect whether and how the physician-based evaluation of patients with diabetes is associated with the achievement of LDL-c targets.
Methods: This cross-sectional self-reported survey interviewed physicians working in 67 outpatient services in Italy, collecting records on 2844 patients with diabetes. Each physician reported a median of 47 records (IQR 42-49) and, for each of them, the physician specified its perceived cardiovascular risk, LDL-c targets, and the suggested refinement in lipid-lowering-treatment (LLT). These physician-based evaluations were then compared to recommendations from EAS/EASD guidelines.
Results: Collected records were mostly from patients with type 2 diabetes (94%), at very-high (72%) or high-cardiovascular risk (27%). Physician-based assessments of cardiovascular risk and of LDL-c targets, as compared to guidelines recommendation, were misclassified in 34.7% of the records. The misperceived assessment was significantly higher among females and those on primary prevention and was associated with 67% lower odds of achieving guidelines-recommended LDL-c targets (OR 0.33, p < 0.0001). Peripheral artery disease, target organ damage and LLT-initiated by primary-care-physicians were all factors associated with therapeutic-inertia (i.e., lower than expected probability of receiving high-intensity LLT). Physician-suggested LLT refinement was inadequate in 24% of overall records and increased to 38% among subjects on primary prevention and with misclassified cardiovascular risk.
Conclusions: This survey highlights the need to improve the physicians' misperceived cardiovascular risk and therapeutic inertia in patients with diabetes to successfully implement guidelines recommendations into everyday clinical practice.
Keywords: Adherence; Cardiovascular risk; Ezetimibe; Inertia; Misperceived risk; PCSK9i; Primary care physicians; Real-world; Real-world study; Self-reported survey; Statins.
© 2022. The Author(s).