November 14, 2013
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Mayo Clinic forms Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic

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Mayo Clinic has announced that its rheumatologists and cardiologists have joined together to create the Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“Because of the recognition … that patients with rheumatic diseases are at higher risk for heart disease and that the clinical presentation of heart disease in patients with rheumatic diseases may be different and may be more subtle than it is in the general population, we have thought that it would be a good idea and we have indeed started a clinic specifically for the evaluation of patients with rheumatic diseases from a cardiovascular standpoint,” Eric Matteson, MD, rheumatology chair at Mayo Clinic, told Healio.com.

Eric L. Matteson 

Eric Matteson

Mayo Clinic found that traditional methods used to pinpoint heart disease risk, including the Framingham Risk Score, did not work well with patients with rheumatic diseases, since their heart disease may manifest itself in a different way. The Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic will examine a broader spectrum of risk factors, according to a news release. New ultrasound techniques to evaluate blood vessels for the earliest signs of heart disease will be employed.

“In this clinic, we are doing a detailed evaluation of the risk profile of patients who have rheumatic diseases for heart disease,” Matteson said. “And we are taking into account such factors as the inflammatory burden, the disease extent, the disease severity, and we are in addition assessing risk beyond the traditional Framingham Risk Score.”

The Cardio-Rheumatology Clinic will be located within the Mayo Clinic Women’s Heart Clinic, since women are more commonly affected by autoimmune disorders.

“By evaluating and educating our patients early on in their rheumatic disease processes, we hope to be able to understand the mechanisms and make a difference in the development and severity of their atherosclerotic complications,” Sharon Mulvagh, MD, cardiologist and director of the Women’s Heart Clinic, said in the release.