Title

Screening for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in a Physical Therapist Wound Care Practice: A Retrospective, Observational Study

Department

Physical Therapy

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

Wound Management & Prevention. August 2019, Volume 65, Issue 8, Pages 20-28.

Publication Date

2019-8

Abstract

Understanding the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among individuals seeking physical therapist services in a wound care center is important, especially if aerobic exercise or other physical activity is recommended.

PURPOSE: This study assessed the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in individuals seeking physical therapist services for an integumentary disorder in an outpatient wound care center.

METHODS: Using a retrospective, observational study design, records from patients who were screened upon initial evaluation by a physical therapist for cardiovascular risk according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines were abstracted. The screening process entailed assessment of current signs and symptoms of cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic disease; an individual or family history of cardiovascular disease; whether the patient was considered obese; and whether the patient was a current smoker, had a sedentary lifestyle, dyslipidemia, elevated glucose, or blood pressure ⟩140/90 mm Hg. Patient demographics and wound history also were summarized and described, including wound type and duration and pain associated with the wound. Wounds then were classified by the physical therapist as either venous leg ulcers or nonvenous leg ulcers based upon the referring physician's diagnosis. Descriptive statistics and frequency distributions were calculated to assess the prevalence of individual cardiovascular risk factors, total number of cardiovascular risk factors, cardiovascular risk stratification, and patient disposition. Frequencies of individual cardiovascular risk factors, total number of cardiovascular risk factors, and cardiovascular risk stratification also were assessed between patients with venous leg ulcers and nonvenous leg ulcers using chi-square tests for categorical data and t tests for continuous data. The alpha level was set at P <.05.

RESULTS: Among the 70 study participants (41 male, 29 female; mean age 63.5 ± 15.1 years), 38 were treated for venous leg ulcers and 32 were treated for nonvenous leg ulcers. Overall, 38 patients (54%) had a history of cardiovascular disease and 29 (41%) had current signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Patients with nonvenous leg ulcers had a significantly higher frequency of having a family history of cardiovascular disease than patients with venous leg ulcers (28% vs. 8%; P = .03). According to the ACSM guidelines, 5 patients (7%) were considered low risk, 22 (31%) were moderate risk, and 43 (62%) were at high risk for experiencing a future cardiovascular event. Cardiovascular risk did not vary significantly according to wound type.

CONCLUSION: The patient risk-stratification profile in this study strongly suggested physical therapists should screen for cardiovascular risk factors before prescribing aerobic exercise or other physical activity for all patients being seen for an integumentary disorder in an outpatient wound care practice.

Keywords

retrospective study, leg ulcer, exercise, cardiovascular disease, risk factors

DOI

10.25270/wmp.2019.8.2028

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