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Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Counseling Program for HSS Lupus Patients

The Division of Rheumatology at HSS has launched a cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention counseling program for HSS patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and/or positive antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). This free-of-charge program, which is partially supported by the New York Community Trust and partially by HSS, will provide a basic assessment and education of the CVD risk factors in patients who participate in counseling.

Studies have demonstrated higher rates of CVD risk factors (such as hypertension or diabetes) and cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks or strokes) in patients with lupus compared to healthy individuals. Furthermore, patients who are persistently positive for aPL are at increased risk for blood clots. Thus, patients with lupus and/or aPL warrant an aggressive approach to CVD risk factor management.

To address this critical issue of CVD prevention in lupus and/or aPL-positive patients, Doruk Erkan, MD established a comprehensive program that will evaluate traditional cardiac risk factors such as blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol levels, body mass index, diet and exercise habits, smoking status, aPL profile, and medication usage, as well as non-traditional and lupus-specific risk factors.

The program will provide general education and tailored lifestyle recommendations to the patients; a summary report of CVD risk assessment will be also provided to the referring physicians.

In order to take part in this program, patients need to be cared for by an HSS rheumatologist and carry the diagnosis of SLE (lupus) and/or aPL-positivity.

Patients who are interested in counseling or who want more information should call 1.877.SLE.CURE (753.2873).  

Program Nurse Coordinator: Monica Richey, ANP, GNP
Program Nutritionist: Sotiria Tzakas, MS, RD, CDN
Program Physical Therapist: Lisa Konstantellis, MSPT
Program Coordinator: Virginia Haiduc, MD
Program Director: Doruk Erkan, MD