Knowledge and self-management behaviors of patients with recently detected atrial fibrillation

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Abstract

Background

More than 2.3 million people in the United States have atrial fibrillation (AF), yet little is known regarding patients' knowledge of AF self-management or adherence to recommended self-management behaviors.

Purpose

We describe the self-management knowledge and behaviors of patients with recently detected AF and identify demographic characteristics associated with differences in knowledge scores.

Method

Two weeks after hospitalization, subjects (N = 100) were interviewed by telephone to assess knowledge and self-management behaviors.

Results

Knowledge deficits related to AF symptoms, purpose of medication, risk for stroke, warning signs of stroke, and complications of warfarin were found. Knowledge deficits were greater in older subjects and in subjects with less formal education. Despite knowledge deficits, there was high adherence to taking medication and anticoagulation monitoring.

Conclusion

At 2 weeks after discharge, self-management education provided during hospitalization did not appear to be retained. Knowledge deficits did not seem to deter report of behaviors such as taking medication and anticoagulation monitoring.

Implications

The projected expansion of this population with its anticipated effects on health and health care resources warrants further study aimed at developing effective approaches for providing self-management education to patients with AF.

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