Study Finds Gaps in CV Risk Screening of Patients With Psoriasis

Just 16% of psoriasis-related visits to dermatology providers in the United States involve screening for cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, with screening lowest in the region with the highest CV disease burden, according to one analysis of 10 years of national survey data.

From 2007 to 2016, national screening rates for four CV risk factors at 14.8 million psoriasis-related visits to dermatology providers were 11% (body-mass index), 7.4% (blood pressure), 2.9% (cholesterol), and 1.7% (glucose). Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey showed that at least one of the four factors was screened at 16% of dermatology visits, said William B. Song, BS, of the department of dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and associates.


The main focus of their study, however, was regional differences. “CV risk factor screening by dermatology providers for patients with psoriasis is low across all regions of the United States and lowest in the South, the region that experiences the highest CVD burden in the United States,” they wrote in a letter to the editor.

Compared with the South, the adjusted odds of any CV screening were 0.98 in the West, 1.25 in the Northeast, and 1.92 in the Midwest. Blood pressure screening was significantly higher in all three regions, compared with the South, while BMI screening was actually lower in the West (0.74), the investigators reported. Odds ratios were not available for cholesterol and glucose screening because of sample size limitations.

The regional variation in screening rates “is not explained by patient demographics or disease severity,” they noted, adding that 2.8 million visits with BP screening would have been added over the 10-year study period “if providers in the South screened patients with psoriasis for high blood pressure at the same rate as providers in the Northeast.”

Guidelines published in 2019 by the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Psoriasis Foundation – which were cowritten by Joel M. Gelfand, MD, senior author of the current study – noted that dermatologists “play an important role in evidence-based screening of CV risk factors in patients with psoriasis,” the investigators wrote. But the regional variations suggest “that some regions experience barriers to appropriate screening or challenges in adhering to guidelines for managing psoriasis and CV risk.”

While the lack of data from after 2016 is one of the study limitations, they added, “continued efforts to develop effective interventions to improve CV screening and care for people with psoriasis in all regions of the U.S. are needed to more effectively address the burden of CV disease experienced by people with psoriasis.”

The study was partly funded by the National Psoriasis Foundation. Three of the seven investigators disclosed earnings from private companies in the form of consultant fees, research support, and honoraria. Dr. Gelfand is a deputy editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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