Abstract: Background & aims: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of mortality among non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients. The aim was to explore the level of knowledge and clinical management of cardiovascular risk (CVR) in NAFLD patients by Digestive Disease specialists.
Methods: An anonymous web-based survey was designed with 44 close-ended questions, divided into five sections, that were based on current guidelines on CVD prevention. Between November 2019 and January 2020, Digestive Disease specialists from Spanish hospitals were invited to participate in this survey via email and Twitter. Student's t, chi-square and Fishers' exact tests, and logistic regression were used for data analysis.
Results: 208 clinicians completed the survey. Most respondents (83.2%) believe that NAFLD is an independent risk factor for CVD, especially in the presence of NASH and fibrosis. Personal history of CVDs and cardiovascular risk-related comorbidities are collected by more than 75% of respondents. However, less than 17% perform an elementary physical examination to address the CVR, except weight which is evaluated by 69.8%. Over 54% of respondents do not perform or request any supplementary tests for CVR assessment, and only 10.2% use specific calculators. Furthermore, 54.3% spend less than 5 minutes giving lifestyle advice, and more than 52% do not start drug treatment after a recent diagnosis of any cardiovascular comorbidity. Only 25.6% have a multidisciplinary Unit for metabolic comorbidities in their hospitals, although 89% of the respondents would support the implementation of this Unit.
Conclusions: Cardiovascular risk management in daily clinical practice by Digestive Disease specialists in Spain remains suboptimal.