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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 45-52

The practice of referring patients with rheumatic diseases and respiratory involvement to respirology clinics: A survey study

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rahmah Abdulhadi Alsilmi
King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box: 80200, Zip Code: 21589, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ara.ara_13_22

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Background: There is a significant association between rheumatic diseases and pulmonary complications, mandating careful assessment for patients. Aim: We aimed to assess the current practice of rheumatologists in referring patients with rheumatic diseases and respiratory involvement to respirology clinics in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: This study is a cross-sectional online survey conducted among rheumatologists and distributed from September 15th, 2021, to December 30, 2021. The first part of the questionnaire aimed to determine the participants' demographic data. The second part assessed the current practice of referring patients with respiratory symptoms to respirology clinics. The third part assessed the participants' awareness of evaluating respiratory diseases in patients with rheumatic conditions. Results: The survey was distributed to 250 rheumatologists using social media and E-mail. We received 61 responses. The majority, 56 (91.8%), did not have a preset respiratory questionnaire and 55 (90.2%) reported ordering pulmonary function tests and high-resolution computerized tomography of the chest before referring patients to a pulmonologist. Forty respondents (65.6%) screen their high-risk patients for respiratory involvement at baseline, and annually, 53 (86.9%) collaborate with a pulmonologist to manage patients who have lung involvement on a long-term basis. The majority of the respondents, 60 (98.4%), did not have an established combined rheumatology-respirology clinic; however, 43 (70.5%) believed that it was feasible to establish such a clinic in their workplace. There is consistency in agreement among the respondents regarding the importance of screening high-risk patients for pulmonary complications. Conclusion: Among the respondents, there was an appreciation of the importance of pulmonary complication screening and collaboration with a pulmonologist to comanage their patients. The concept of the combined rheumatology-respirology clinic is not widely adopted, considering its potential effect on prompt patient evaluation.

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