A panel of expert cardiologists share their concluding thoughts on management of polyvascular disease in clinical practice.
Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH: This has been a great program. I’ve learned a lot. We covered lots of ground about antithrombotic therapy, coronary artery disease [CAD], and peripheral artery disease [PAD] in general. Let me turn to our distinguished panel for some closing thoughts. I’ll start with you, Manesh. Any final points [that] you want to make for the audience?
Manesh Patel, MD: Deepak, it’s been fun and exciting. It’s fun to talk to people about evidence for the things we see. We’ve learned over the last decade is that vascular disease unfortunately is still the leading cause of cardiovascular mobility issues and mortality. As we have more options, which is a good thing, we have to get the right dose for the right patient at the right time. Some of that is understanding the risk and the risk benefits that we’ve talked about. Concerning patients with polyvascular disease, patients with broad thrombotic risk, it’s important to understand how you can make them have better outcomes. We’ve talked about that today. Hopefully it’s something that people will take home.
Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH: Really valuable points. Amy?
Amy Pollak, MD: I agree. It’s been a wonderful panel. I’m thrilled to be part of this. My take-home message would be to focus on identifying these polyvascular patients. Because they’re such high-risk patients, it’s important not to be focused on the coronary artery disease. But if patients have coronary artery disease and vascular disease in another territory, then that’s the pinnacle of our risk. Diabetes on top of that is going to be at that highest cardiovascular risk, so we need to talk with our patients about the fact that they’re at a higher risk and how that guides our recommendations for changing medications. Oftentimes patients can be resistant, understandably, to wanting to add another medication. But part of patient-centered decision-making is educating them that this is why that goes a long way.
Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH: We need to educate the medical community about those risks that identify polyvascular disease, diabetes is a real risk amplifier. Great points. Eric, any closing thoughts?
Eric Secemsky, MD: This was a fantastic discussion. For everyone watching this, it’s important for us to not be fearful of making a change in our practice. We’ve been set in our ways for a long time, but we’ve had these accumulating data. It’s time for us to be open-minded about making changes that benefit our patients. We’ve heard today that there are many agents that can optimize long-term cardiovascular and limb-related risk outcomes and improve the care for our patients, so it was a great discussion.
Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH: Absolutely agree and Sahil, any final thoughts?
Sahil Parikh, MD: That’s really important. What Eric just said is that we’ve been in this mode of using dual-antiplatelet therapy for extended amounts of time with very little evidence, particularly in the PAD population, which is the predominant part of my practice. It’s great that we have strong evidence to support the use of dual-pathway inhibition. We need to get the message out to our referring doctors and our patients that this is the way forward to optimize the risk.
Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH: Terrific. Marc, you’ll get the final word.
Marc P. Bonaca, MD, MPH: It’s been an honor to be part of this panel. We’ve learned that we have a gap in terms of the evidence and how we treat our patients. Part of that is that we have a lot of patients to see. We’re all very busy clinicians. Everyone wants to do their best. But understanding who the highest-risk patient is and what the best evidence is needs to be at the top of your mind as you see your clinic patients, and polyvascular disease resonates. I learned that term from you, Deepak, many years ago. It has been shown in every study to be such a potent marker of risk and beneficial for some of these strategies and other things like diabetes. We need to take that into the clinic and start treating our patients better.
Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH: I couldn’t agree more. Hopefully the audience found this exchange of ideas informative, interesting, and educational. Hopefully these are things you can take this into your practices. As I mentioned, I learned a lot. A final point I’ll make is that when you’re thinking about coronary artery disease, think about the whole patient. For that patient you’re seeing for 1 specific condition, that might be the issue in the office for that day. But they may have other risk factors. They may have plaque in other arterial territories. We talked a lot in this session about polyvascular disease, but keep in mind that CAD, PAD, and cerebrovascular disease can coexist. Even though the patient might be seeing you for angina in that office visit or hospital encounter, think about all those associated risks. If you identify those associated risks, you realize that it’s a very high-risk patient, the sort of patient for whom we want to do everything possible to reduce their risk, including intense lifestyle modification. Beyond that, in many cases pharmacotherapy, polypharmacy with wisdom and caution, and in some cases procedural care are all complementary approaches, not competitive approaches.
Thanks to all of you on our panel and to our audience for this rich and informative discussion. If you enjoyed the content, please subscribe to our e-newsletters to receive upcoming HCPLive® Peer Exchanges and other great content right in your in-box.
Transcript Edited for Clarity