Disease understanding in patients newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation

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Abstract

Objective

To describe self-reported disease understanding for newly diagnosed patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and assess (1) how disease understanding changes over the first 6 months after diagnosis and (2) the relationship between patient understanding of therapies at baseline and treatment receipt at 6 months among treatment-naïve patients.

Methods

We analysed survey data from SATELLITE (Survey of Patient Knowledge and Personal Priorities for Treatment), a substudy of patients with new-onset AF enrolled in the national Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (ORBIT) II registry across 56 US sites. Patients were surveyed at the baseline and 6-month follow-up clinic visits using Likert scales.

Results

Among 1004 baseline survey responses, patients’ confidence in their understanding of rhythm control, ablation, anticoagulation and cardioversion was suboptimal, with ‘high’ understanding ranging from 8.5% for left atrial appendage closure to 71.3% for rhythm therapy. Of medical history and demographic factors, education level was the strongest predictor of reporting ‘high’ disease understanding. Among the 786 patients with 6-month survey data, significant increases in the proportion reporting high understanding were observed (p<0.05) only for warfarin and direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs). With the exception of ablation, high understanding for a given therapeutic option was not associated with increased use of that therapy at 6 months.

Conclusions

About half of patients with new-onset AF understood the benefits of oral anticoagulant at the time of diagnosis and understanding improved over the first 6 months. However, understanding of AF treatment remains suboptimal at 6 months. Our results suggest a need for ongoing patient education.

Clinical trial registration

Clinicaltrials.gov. Identifier: NCT01701817.

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