Jane Salmon, MD, Collette Kean Research Chair at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, also says its value might be limited.
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“Patients with RA and SLE are at increased risk for heart attacks, compared to controls matched for conventional cardiovascular risk factors, but their risk is still not very high, particularly when they are young,” she says. “For example, myocardial infarctions are very uncommon in young women. In SLE, they may be 10 to 50 times more frequent, but that is still quite rare.
“I do not feel that monitoring would be useful in most rheumatology patients without histories of cardiac events,” she adds. “It could make patients anxious, and the frequency of events is probably too low to make this worthwhile. In a patient considered sufficiently high risk to require this device, a cardiologist would be better suited to monitor output of the device.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance medical writer based in Florida.