Investigation of the variables that impact upon the knowledge of cardiac risk factors

Emergency Department, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.
Emergency medicine Australasia: EMA (Impact Factor: 1.3). 06/2006; 18(3):252-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2006.00848.x
Source: PubMed


Awareness of cardiac disease risk factors is required before they can be modified. The present study aimed to investigate risk factor knowledge and the variables that impact upon this knowledge.
We undertook an analytical, cross-sectional survey of 226 patients attending an ED. Patients were asked to recall as many cardiac risk factors as possible and to rate the risk of nine given risk factors. Data relating to sources of risk factor information were collected. Uni- and multivariate (multiple linear regression) analyses determined variables that impacted upon the risk factor knowledge score.
Mean patient age was 60.2 +/- 15 years, 55.3% (95% confidence interval 48.6-61.9) were male and 19.9% (95% confidence interval 15.0-25.8) had known cardiac disease. The mean risk factor knowledge score of 2.5 +/- 1.5 out of a possible 12 (median 3) was indicative of poor knowledge. Smoking, poor diet and stress/worry/tension were the most common factors reported. Variables impacting significantly on the knowledge score were English as a first language (P < 0.001), age (negative correlation, P < 0.001) and the receipt of information relating to cardiac health (P < 0.001). The patients' general practitioner and the media were the most important sources of information.
Patients' knowledge of cardiac risk factors is generally poor and education strategies are indicated. At the individual level, the general practitioner is likely to remain as an important influence on knowledge. However, complementary media education programs are indicated at the community level. Patient subgroups at 'high risk' through poor knowledge should be specifically targeted.

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