Patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis--collectively termed psoriatic disease--face increased heart risks. A new study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology indicates that ultrasound imaging of the carotid arteries can reveal the extent to which patients' arteries are clogged and also indicate their risk of experiencing future cardiovascular events.
The findings suggest that combining such imaging data with clinical and laboratory measures of traditional cardiovascular risk factors could improve risk predictions and identify which patients with psoriatic disease might benefit from more intensive heart-protective therapies.
"Ultrasound is widely used in rheumatology settings as a point of care to detect joint inflammation. Our study suggests that ultrasound can also be used to identify patients that are at high cardiovascular risk who may be missed by the conventional methods such as the Framingham risk score," said senior author Lihi Eder, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto. "This will allow early intervention, such as initiation of lipid lowering therapy, which will ultimately lower the risk of developing cardiovascular events."