Understanding the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes are important not only in saving lives, but also in preserving quality of life. Findings from recent research have yielded that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors are higher in rural populations, suggesting that adults living in rural locales may be at higher risk for heart attack and/or stroke. Knowledge of heart attack and stroke symptomology as well as calling 911 for a suspected heart attack or stroke are essential first steps in seeking care. This study sought to examine the knowledge of heart attack and stroke symptoms among rural adults in comparison to non-rural adults living in the U.S.
Using multivariate techniques, a cross-sectional analysis of an amalgamated multi-year Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) database was performed. The dependent variable for this analysis was low heart attack and stroke knowledge score. The covariates for the analysis were: age, sex, race/ethnicity, annual household income, attained education, health insurance status, having a health care provider (HCP), timing of last routine medical check-up, medical care deferment because of cost, self-defined health status and geographic locale.
The weighted n for this study overall was 103,262,115 U.S. adults > =18 years of age. Approximately 22.0% of these respondents were U.S. adults living in rural locales. Logistic regression analysis revealed that those U.S. adults who had low composite heart attack and stroke knowledge scores were more likely to be rural (OR = 1.218 95%CI 1.216-1.219) rather than non-rural residents. Furthermore, those with low scores were more likely to be: male (OR = 1.353 95%CI 1.352-1.354), >65 years of age (OR = 1.369 95%CI 1.368-1.371), African American (OR = 1.892 95%CI 1.889-1.894), not educated beyond high school (OR = 1.400 955CI 1.399-1.402), uninsured (OR = 1.308 95%CI 1.3-6-1.310), without a HCP (OR = 1.216 95%CI 1.215-1.218), and living in a household with an annual income of < $50,000 (OR = 1.429 95%CI 1.428-1.431).
Analysis identified clear disparities between the knowledge levels U.S. adults have regarding heart attack and stroke symptoms. These disparities should guide educational endeavors focusing on improving knowledge of heart attack and stroke symptoms.
Rural public health; Heart attack symptoms; Stroke symptoms; Knowledge of heart attack and stroke symptomology
Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in North America. Nevertheless, in 2003, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada reported that nearly two-thirds of Canadians have misconceptions regarding heart disease and stroke, echoing the results of similar American studies. Good knowledge of these conditions is imperative for cardiac patients who are at greater risk than the general population and should, therefore, be better educated. The present study evaluated the awareness of heart disease and stroke among cardiac patients to assess the efficacy of current education efforts.
Two hundred fifty-one cardiac inpatients and outpatients at St Michael’s Hospital (Toronto, Ontario) were surveyed in July and August 2004. An unaided questionnaire assessed respondents’ knowledge of cardiovascular risk factors, symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and actions in the event of cardiovascular emergency. Demographic data and relevant medical history were also obtained.
Cardiac patients demonstrated relatively adequate knowledge of heart attack warning symptoms. These patients also demonstrated adequate awareness of proper actions during cardiovascular emergencies. However, respondents were not aware of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Knowledge of stroke symptoms was also extremely poor. Socioeconomic status, and personal history of heart attack and stroke were positively correlated with good knowledge.
Future patient education efforts should address the awareness of the important cardiovascular risk factors and knowledge of cardiovascular warning symptoms (especially for stroke), as well as inform patients of appropriate actions during a cardiovascular emergency. Emphasis should be placed on primary and secondary prevention, and interventions should be directed toward low-income cardiac patients.
Heart attack; Myocardial infarction; Prevention; Public health education; Stroke
National initiatives to improve the recognition of heart attack and stroke warning signs have encouraged symptomatic people to seek early treatment, but few have shown significant effects in rural American Indian (AI) communities.
During 2009 and 2010, the Montana Cardiovascular Health Program, in collaboration with 2 tribal health departments, developed and conducted culturally specific public awareness campaigns for signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke via local media. Telephone surveys were conducted before and after each campaign to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaigns.
Knowledge of 3 or more heart attack warning signs and symptoms increased significantly on 1 reservation from 35% at baseline to 47% postcampaign. On the second reservation, recognition of 2 or more stroke signs and symptoms increased from 62% at baseline to 75% postcampaign, and the level of awareness remained at 73% approximately 4 months after the high-intensity campaign advertisements ended. Intent to call 9-1-1 did not increase in the heart attack campaign but did improve in the stroke campaign for specific symptoms. Recall of media campaigns on both reservations increased significantly from baseline to postcampaign for both media outlets (ie, radio and newspaper).
Carefully designed, culturally specific campaigns may help eliminate disparities in the recognition of heart attack and stroke warning signs in AI communities.
In 2003, only 18% of Massachusetts adults were aware of all signs and symptoms of stroke, but 80% would call 9-1-1 if they thought someone was having a stroke or heart attack. Because early recognition leads to early treatment and improved clinical outcomes, increasing symptom recognition could have an impact on stroke survival and stroke patients' quality of life.
We conducted secondary research to identify messages with evidence-based effectiveness for communicating stroke signs and symptoms. From these results, a Stroke Heroes Act FAST animation was created and concept-tested. Non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women aged 40 to 64 years received education on stroke signs and symptoms. Knowledge change about stroke signs and symptoms was calculated immediately following and 3 months after the education session.
Using Stroke Heroes Act FAST educational materials that were developed, 72 women (mean age, 54 years; 15.5% were non-Hispanic blacks) received education about signs and symptoms of stroke and took the pretests and posttests to assess knowledge change. Immediately after the education session, significant increases were seen in the percentage of participants who recognized that facial droop (92% vs 99%, P = .02) and arm weakness or numbness (86% vs 97%, P = .004) were symptoms of stroke. Of the 65 participants who were given the 3-month follow-up survey, 100% remembered slurred speech and facial drooping as symptoms; 98.5% recalled arm weakness or numbness; and 97% would call 9-1-1 if they thought someone was having a stroke. None of these is a significant change from the posttest.
The Stroke Heroes Act FAST kit may be a useful tool for improving knowledge of stroke signs and symptoms among adults.
Early recognition of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can lead to reduced morbidity and mortality.
A workplace intervention was conducted among 523 Montana state health department employees in 2003 to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart attack and the need to use 911. All employees received an Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs brochure and wallet card with their paychecks. Act in Time posters were placed in key workplace areas. A weekly e-mail message, including a contest entry opportunity addressing the signs and symptoms of heart attack, was sent to all employees. Baseline and follow-up telephone surveys were conducted to evaluate intervention effectiveness.
Awareness of heart attack signs and symptoms and the need to call 911 increased significantly among employees from baseline to follow-up: pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back (awareness increased from 69% to 91%); feeling weak, light-headed, or faint (awareness increased from 79% to 89%); call 911 if someone is having a heart attack or stroke (awareness increased from 84% to 90%). Awareness of chest pain, pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulders, and shortness of breath were more than 90% at baseline and did not increase significantly at follow-up. At baseline, 69% of respondents correctly reported five or more of the signs and symptoms of heart attack; 89% reported correctly at follow-up.
This low-cost workplace intervention increased awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart attack and the need to call 911.
Psychosocial and other factors that may affect patient self care in acute asthma were investigated in 210 asthmatic adults recruited from general practice and hospital clinics. Interviews and self complete questionnaires were used to assess patients' management of a hypothetical slow onset and rapid onset attack of asthma, attitudes to asthma, family support, psychiatric morbidity, recent asthma morbidity, and knowledge of drug treatment. The patients with the highest morbidity from asthma delayed longest before taking appropriate action in the hypothetical acute attack. One in four patients expressed strong feelings of stigma and pessimism about being asthmatic, but attitudes were only weakly associated with behaviour. Other factors showed no significant relation to self care. The results suggest that there is no single important factor or group of factors governing patients' management of acute asthma. Health education might therefore prove more effective if it paid less attention to the possible cause or causes of poor self care and instead offered pragmatic advice on changing behaviour.
It is not known what patient perceptions or beliefs lead to beneficial decisions or response patterns in symptom interpretation among heart failure (HF) patients, especially immigrants. The aim of this study was to explore and compare symptom recognition and health care seeking patterns among immigrants and native Swedes with HF.
The study used a qualitative design. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 42 patients with HF, of whom 21 were consecutively selected immigrants and 21 were randomly selected Swedish patients. The interviews were analysed using content analysis.
A majority of the immigrant patients sought health care for symptoms and signs, such as breathing difficulties, fatigue and swelling. Twice as many immigrants as Swedes were unaware of "what the illness experience entailed" and which symptoms indicated worsening of HF.
The symptoms that patients sought care for, were similar among immigrants and Swedes. However, when interpreting symptoms more immigrants were unaware of the connection between the symptoms/signs and their HF condition. More tailored educational interventions might improve recognition of worsening symptoms in immigrant patients with chronic heart failure.
Diagnosing the aetiology of chest pain is challenging. There is still a lack of data on the diagnostic accuracy of signs and symptoms for acute coronary events in low-prevalence settings.
To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and signs in patients presenting to general practice with chest pain.
Design of study
Cross-sectional diagnostic study with delayed-type reference standard.
Seventy-four general practices in Germany.
The study included 1249 consecutive patients presenting with chest pain. Data were reviewed by an independent reference panel, with coronary heart disease (CHD) and an indication for urgent hospital admission as reference conditions. Main outcome measures were sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratio, predictive value, and odds ratio (OR) for non-trauma patients with a reference diagnosis.
Several signs and symptoms showed strong associations with CHD, including known vascular disease (OR = 5.13; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.83 to 9.30), pain worse on exercise (OR = 4.27; 95% CI = 2.31 to 7.88), patient assumes cardiac origin of pain (OR = 3.20; 95% CI = 1.53 to 6.60), cough present (OR = 0.08; 95% CI = 0.01 to 0.77), and pain reproducible on palpation (OR = 0.27; 95% CI = 0.13 to 0.56). For urgent hospital admission, effective criteria included pain radiating to the left arm (OR = 8.81; 95% CI = 2.58 to 30.05), known clinical vascular disease (OR = 7.50; 95% CI = 2.88 to 19.55), home visit requested (OR = 7.31; 95% CI = 2.27 to 23.57), and known heart failure (OR = 3.53; 95% CI = 1.14 to 10.96).
Although individual criteria were only moderately effective, in combination they can help to decide about further management of patients with chest pain in primary care.
chest pain; medical history taking; myocardial ischaemia; primary health care; sensitivity and specificity
A prospective study was carried out to determine the prognostic factors in patients with second-degree and complete heart block following acute myocardial infarction and to re-examine the indications for artificial transvenous pacing. Of the 117 consecutive patients with proved acute myocardial infarction, 15 developed advanced heart block (second degree and complete). The presence of the following factors, either alone or in combinations, were attended with poor prognosis: preceding Stokes-Adams syndrome, cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure, complications secondary to cardiac arrest, anterior infarction and wide QRS complex. In the nine cases requiring artificial transvenous pacemaker because of Stokes-Adams attacks, congestive heart failure or frequent multifocal ventricular ectopic beats, there were five deaths. The remaining six patients, who were without complications and were not paced, all survived; these patients had normal QRS duration with heart rates above 60 per minute. This study indicates that prophylactic transvenous catheter insertion in acute heart block does not appear justified unless specific indication(s) arise. Postmortem studies revealed significant narrowing of all the major coronary vessels in all five fatalities. The overall mortality in this series of cases of acute heart block was 33%.
OBJECTIVE—To examine a general practice population to measure the prevalence of signs and symptoms of heart failure (SSHF) and left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD).
DESIGN—Cross sectional screening study in three general practices followed by echocardiography.
SETTING AND PATIENTS—All patients ⩾ 50 years in two general practices and ⩾ 40 years in one general practice were screened by case record reviews and questionnaires (n = 2158), to identify subjects with some evidence of heart disease. Among these, subjects were sought who had SSHF (n = 115). Of 357 subjects with evidence of heart disease, 252 were eligible for examination, and 126 underwent further cardiological assessment, including 43 with SSHF.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES—Prevalence of SSHF as defined by a modified Boston index, LVSD defined as an indirectly measured left ventricular ejection fraction ⩽ 0.45, and numbers of subjects needing an echocardiogram to detect one case with LVSD.
RESULTS—SSHF afflicted 0.5% of quadragenarians and rose to 11.7% of octogenarians. Two thirds were handled in primary care only. At ⩾ 50 years of age 6.4% had SSHF, 2.9% had LVSD, and 1.9% (95% confidence interval 1.3% to 2.5%) had both. To detect one case with LVSD in primary care, 14 patients with evidence of heart disease without SSHF and 5.5 patients with SSHF had to be examined.
CONCLUSION—SSHF is extremely prevalent in the community, especially in primary care, but more than two thirds do not have LVSD. The number of subjects with some evidence of heart disease needing an echocardiogram to detect one case of LVSD is 14.
Keywords: heart failure; left ventricular systolic dysfunction
Auscultation of the heart is accompanied by both electrical activity and sound. Heart auscultation provides clues to diagnose many cardiac abnormalities. Unfortunately, detection of relevant symptoms and diagnosis based on heart sound through a stethoscope is difficult. The reason GPs find this difficult is that the heart sounds are of short duration and separated from one another by less than 30 ms. In addition, the cost of false positives constitutes wasted time and emotional anxiety for both patient and GP. Many heart diseases cause changes in heart sound, waveform, and additional murmurs before other signs and symptoms appear. Heart-sound auscultation is the primary test conducted by GPs. These sounds are generated primarily by turbulent flow of blood in the heart. Analysis of heart sounds requires a quiet environment with minimum ambient noise. In order to address such issues, the technique of denoising and estimating the biomedical heart signal is proposed in this investigation. Normally, the performance of the filter naturally depends on prior information related to the statistical properties of the signal and the background noise. This paper proposes Kalman filtering for denoising statistical heart sound. The cycles of heart sounds are certain to follow first-order Gauss–Markov process. These cycles are observed with additional noise for the given measurement. The model is formulated into state-space form to enable use of a Kalman filter to estimate the clean cycles of heart sounds. The estimates obtained by Kalman filtering are optimal in mean squared sense.
heart sound; murmurs; ECG; Kalman filters; acoustic cardiac signals
Men between the ages of 25 and 45 years attending a surgery were screened for risk of heart disease. An `at-risk' group of 188 men were identified and 118 of them (63 per cent) accepted an invitation to attend a coronary heart disease prevention clinic at the practice. A sample of the attending group showed favourable changes in risk factors one year later.
Subsamples of 20 men from the attending and non-attending groups were interviewed at the clinic or at home; they showed significant differences with respect to employment status, family history of myocardial infarction and knowledge about coronary heart disease as a cause of death in the United Kingdom. Implications for preventive programmes of this nature are discussed, and the need to utilize routine doctor-patient contacts for health education and prevention is stressed.
Some patients suffer greatly from upper respiratory tract infections, while others suffer much less. Various factors, such as allergy and nasal injury, have been suggested in the literature to predispose patients to infection. Predisposing factors and patterns of disease were examined in a prospective, controlled study of 238 patients attending two general practices. A questionnaire, designed to study the development and duration of upper respiratory symptoms and the occurrence of factors which predispose patients to disease, was completed for index and control patients when they presented with symptoms. A follow-up card was completed by index patients one month later.
Family history of catarrh was found to be a significant predisposing factor to upper respiratory tract infection. However, no significant differences between index and control patients were found for any of the other generally accepted factors. Heavy smoking and increased age were associated with prolonged symptoms lasting 60 days or more.
It is concluded that traditional theories of the causes of upper respiratory tract infections may need to be revised.
OBJECTIVE--To assess the effect of physical activity on plasma fibrinogen and factor VII activity and thus on the risk of ischaemic heart disease. DESIGN--Cross sectional survey. SETTING--Ten group practices in the Medical Research Council's General Practice Research Framework. PATIENTS--3967 men aged 45-69 attending screening clinics for the thrombosis prevention trial. METHODS--Structured interview to elicit the intensity and frequency of physical exercise during past month. Measurement of fibrinogen, factor VII activity, cholesterol concentration, blood pressure, and other indices of ischaemic heart disease risk. RESULTS--Strenuous exercise was associated with significantly lower fibrinogen concentrations than mild exercise, implying a difference of about 15% in the risk of ischaemic heart disease. Strenuous exercise was also associated with lower cholesterol concentrations. More frequent strenuous exercise was associated with lower factor VII activity. CONCLUSIONS--With the recognition of plasma fibrinogen as a strong index of ischaemic heart disease risk the results of this and other studies suggest a pathway through which the protective effect of strenuous exercise may partly be mediated and they provide doctors and patients with a valuable incentive towards prevention, particularly in those whose risk of ischaemic heart disease is substantially due to raised fibrinogen concentrations.
Previous studies have demonstrated poor knowledge of stroke among patients with established risk factors. This study aims to assess the baseline knowledge, among patients with increased risk for stroke in Oman, of warning symptoms of stroke, impending risk factors, treatment, and sources of information.
In April 2005, trained family practice residents at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital Clinics (cardiology, neurology, diabetic, and lipid clinics), using a standardised, structured, pre-tested questionnaire, conducted a survey of 400 Omani patients. These patients all demonstrated potential risk factors for stroke.
Only 35% of the subjects stated that the brain is the organ affected by a stroke, 68% correctly identified at least one symptom/sign of a stroke, and 43% correctly identified at least one stroke risk factor. The majority (62%) did not believe they were at increased risk for stroke, and 98% had not been advised by their attending physician that their clinical conditions were risk factors for stroke. In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, lower age and higher levels of education were associated with better knowledge regarding the organ involved in stroke, stroke symptoms, and risk factors.
Because their knowledge about stroke risk factors was poor, the subjects in this study were largely unaware of their increased risk for stroke. Intensive health education is needed to improve awareness of stroke, especially among the most vulnerable groups.
Background: Those responsible for planning and commissioning health services require a method of assessing the benefits and costs of interventions. Quality-adjusted life years, based on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) estimates, can be used as part of this commissioning process. The purpose of this study was to generate nationally representative HRQoL estimates for cardiovascular disease (heart attack, angina and stroke) and predisposing conditions (diabetes, hypertension and obesity) and assess differential impacts by socio-economic position using data from the Health Survey for England. Methods: Regression modelling was used to estimate the relationship of EQ-5D index scores with each condition independently and differentially by socio-economic position. Results: Of the cardiovascular conditions/risk factors considered, having doctor-diagnosed stroke, heart attack or angina were each associated with the greatest decreases in EQ-5D. With the exception of heart attack, the reduction in EQ-5D associated with the condition/risk factor was greater for those occupying lower socio-economic positions, statistically significantly so for obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Conclusion: The estimates calculated provide nationally representative baseline data for England, which can be used for modelling the impact of interventions on HRQoL. They illustrate the importance of socio-economic circumstances for the association between a given condition/risk factor and HRQoL.
BACKGROUND: There is a high level of morbidity and mortality among patients with heart failure. Management of the condition has changed substantially in recent years. However, there is little information on the management of heart failure in general practice. AIM: A study was carried out in 1994 to assess the prevalence, aetiology and management of heart failure in a general practice setting. METHOD: A retrospective review was undertaken of the manual and computerized medical records of patients in two group practices in Liverpool (combined patient population of 17 400). RESULTS: A total of 266 patients with heart failure were identified (a prevalence of 15 per 1000). The two practices had 2747 patients who were aged 65 years and over and 221 of these had heart failure (prevalence of 80 per 1000). The principal aetiological factor considered responsible for heart failure was: coronary heart disease in 45% of patients, hypertension 18%, valve disease 9%, cor pulmonale 7%, cardiomyopathy 2% and a metabolic problem 2% (aetiology unknown in 17% of cases). Urea and electrolytes had been checked in the last year in 59% of patients. Chest x-ray and electrocardiography had been performed in 89% and 80% of patients, respectively, and echocardiography in 30%. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors were being prescribed to 33% of patients. CONCLUSION: The study found a high prevalence of heart failure among patients aged 65 years and over. Coronary heart disease was considered to be the main aetiological factor. Patients were being investigated mainly by means of chest x-ray and electrocardiography. Most patients with heart failure were not receiving treatment with ACE inhibitors. Evaluation of heart failure by clinical criteria alone is now deemed insufficient. Echocardiography should be used routinely to assess cardiac dysfunction. Patients with confirmed left ventricular dysfunction will benefit from treatment with ACE inhibitors unless contraindications exist. The study suggests that there is a need to explore ways of optimizing the management of patients with heart failure.
Low health literacy compromises patient safety, quality health care, and desired health outcomes. Specifically, low health literacy is associated with decreased knowledge of one’s medical condition, poor medication recall, nonadherence to treatment plans, poor self-care behaviors, compromised physical and mental health, greater risk of hospitalization, and increased mortality.
The health literacy literature was reviewed for: definitions, scope, risk factors, assessment, impact on health outcomes (cardiovascular disease and heart failure), and interventions. Implications for future research and for clinical practice to address health literacy in heart failure patients were summarized.
General health literacy principles should be applied to patients with heart failure, similar to others with chronic conditions. Clinicians treating patients with heart failure should address health literacy using five steps: recognize the consequences of low health literacy, screen patients at risk, document literacy levels and learning preferences, and integrate effective strategies to enhance patients’ understanding into practice.
Although the literature specifically addressing low health literacy in patients with heart failure is limited, it is consistent with the larger body of health literacy evidence. Timely recognition of low health literacy combined with tailored interventions should be integrated into clinical practice.
Heart failure; health literacy; communication; self-care
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. The association between smoking and eye diseases is less widely recognised relative to other better-known smoking-related conditions. This study aims to assess the awareness and fear of known smoking-related diseases among current smokers attending an ophthalmology outpatient clinic and to evaluate their relative impact on the likelihood of smoking cessation.
Patients and methods
A cross-sectional survey using a structured interview of randomly selected current smokers attending an eye clinic was conducted. The knowledge of six smoking-related diseases (lung cancer, heart attack, stroke, blindness, other cancers, and other lung diseases) was assessed. The fear of smoking-related conditions and the relative impact of each smoking-related condition on the smoker's motivation to quit smoking were evaluated.
Out of 200 current smokers aged from 14 to 83 years, only 42.5% (85 patients) were aware that smoking causes blindness. Smokers' perception of harm caused by smoking was 6.53±3.21 (mean±SD) on a visual analogue scale of 0 to 10. Patients placed blindness as the second most important motivating factor to quit smoking immediately, within 1 year and 5 years, after lung cancer.
The awareness of the risk of blindness from smoking was lowest compared with five other smoking-related diseases among eye patients who smoke. However, blindness remains a key motivational factor in smoking cessation and hence should be emphasised as an important negative health consequence of smoking in public health education and anti-smoking campaigns.
awareness; blindness; smoking cessation; tobacco
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether women with congenital heart disease were receiving appropriate advice on contraception. SETTING: Adult congenital heart disease clinic in a tertiary cardiac referral centre. DESIGN: Questionnaire administered to 35 consecutive female patients attending the adult congenital clinic. The cardiologist assessed what the risk would be if each patient used an oestrogen containing contraceptive pill (OCP). RESULTS: Of the 33 patients admitted to the study 6 patients thought their heart condition precluded them from taking an OCP when in fact it did not and 3 incorrectly said that an OCP would be suitable for them. Three women with relatively minor lesions had been incorrectly denied the OCP and 2 further patients were using inappropriate methods. There had been 6 unwanted pregnancies in the total group. CONCLUSIONS: Many women with congenital heart disease do not know the most appropriate method of contraception for them or have received incorrect advice. It is often patients with less severe lesions who receive the most inappropriate advice. It is clear that the family planning needs of this population are currently poorly catered for. Each unit must ensure that the information necessary in making informed decisions on contraception is available to the doctor advising on family planning.
Disadvantaged inner-city populations have significantly higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality rates than the general population. Whether a deficiency in the level of awareness, a prerequisite for change, exists that contributes to this socioeconomic divide has not been well established.
To address CVD risk by assessing the knowledge of CVD risk factors of an inner-city population and comparing it with that of the general population by establishing determinants of CVD knowledge and identifying potential barriers to CVD risk factor reduction in the inner city.
Cross-sectional survey of 136 consecutive patients 40 years of age and older attending an inner-city community health centre. The comparison group consisted of 807 age-matched respondents from the Canadian Heart Health Study, a random sample survey of the general adult Canadian population. Outcome measures included CVD risk factor knowledge, CVD risk factor prevalence and barriers to reducing CVD risk.
There was no significant difference between inner-city respondent ability to name five of the seven CVD risk factors compared with the general population. Two CVD risk factors were more readily recalled by the inner-city group (lack of exercise, P<0.001; heredity, P=0.003). The average number of risk factors named by an individual from the inner city was significantly higher than the general population (3.1 versus 2.6; P<0.001). Among the inner-city respondents, socioeconomic factors, including higher education level (OR 5.224; P<0.001) and being married (OR 3.651; P=0.008), were independently related to good CVD knowledge; high CVD risk was not related. Lack of motivation (57%), lack of time (34%) and lack of money (30%) were commonly reported as barriers to addressing CVD risk.
Elevated CVD risk in the inner city may not be attributable to a deficiency in the level of awareness. However, the relationship between socioeconomic status and knowledge is maintained within the lowest social class tier. The identification of barriers linked to inner-city life has implications for prevention of CVD in the inner city; results suggest that interventions that combine health education with motivational approaches, while necessary, may not be sufficient.
Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Coronary artery disease; Health promotion; Population health; Socioeconomic factors
To assess the potential impact of socioeconomic status (SES) factors on health-care seeking behavior for suspected acute coronary artery disease symptoms, equal numbers of black, Latino, and white patients seeking care for chest pain at two large hospital emergency rooms were studied. Differences between low and middle SES groups with respect to pre-attack health, health history, ethnicity, gender, and modes of transportation to the hospital were explored. Highly significant self-reported differences between low SES and middle SES patients were found as follows: low SES subjects were more likely to describe themselves as being in fair to poor general health (68% versus 18%), had more frequent chest pain, reported other types of heart disease, were more often current smokers, more likely to be black or Latino, and to be younger. Members of the low SES group also were less [corrected] likely to have known cholesterol levels, to have used estrogen, to have had a prior ECG or cardiac surgery, to be nonsmokers, to have had a stress test, and to have typical angina. Middle SES subjects more often described typical angina, prior use of estrogen (females), congenital, rheumatic, or family history of heart disease, prior knowledge of high cholesterol, were more likely to be of the male gender, and to be older than the low SES cohort. The data reveal that low SES subjects, with markedly less health-care resources compared with middle SES subjects, have a worse general health and cardiac risk profile despite the fact that they were significantly younger (mean age 53.4 versus 60.7, P < .001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
There is little recent information on the prevalence of heart failure in the United Kingdom. Assuming that patients with heart failure would be taking diuretic drugs all such patients were identified in three general practices in north west London. The practice records of these patients were examined to determine which patients had heart failure. Of the 30,204 patients served by the practices, 117 had heart failure, a prevalence of 3.9 per 1000 patients. The mean age of these patients was 74 years. The prevalence of heart failure among patients under 65 years of age was 0.6 per 1000 patients rising to 27.7 per 1000 among those aged 65 years and over. The aetiology of heart failure was considered to be coronary heart disease for 32% of patients, valve disease for 19%, hypertension for 6%, cor pulmonale for 4% and congenital heart disease for 2%. The aetiology for the remaining 37% of patients was unknown. Most patients were referred to hospital and only 20% had been treated solely by the general practitioner. An electrocardiogram and chest radiograph had been obtained for over 80% of patients but only 28% had an echocardiogram. Heart failure occurs primarily in elderly patients, and coronary heart disease is the dominant aetiological factor.
Chest pain raises concern for the possibility of coronary heart disease. Scoring methods have been developed to identify coronary heart disease in emergency settings, but not in primary care.
Data were collected from a multicenter Swiss clinical cohort study including 672 consecutive patients with chest pain, who had visited one of 59 family practitioners' offices. Using delayed diagnosis we derived a prediction rule to rule out coronary heart disease by means of a logistic regression model. Known cardiovascular risk factors, pain characteristics, and physical signs associated with coronary heart disease were explored to develop a clinical score. Patients diagnosed with angina or acute myocardial infarction within the year following their initial visit comprised the coronary heart disease group.
The coronary heart disease score was derived from eight variables: age, gender, duration of chest pain from 1 to 60 minutes, substernal chest pain location, pain increasing with exertion, absence of tenderness point at palpation, cardiovascular risks factors, and personal history of cardiovascular disease. Area under the receiver operating characteristics curve was of 0.95 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.92; 0.97. From this score, 413 patients were considered as low risk for values of percentile 5 of the coronary heart disease patients. Internal validity was confirmed by bootstrapping. External validation using data from a German cohort (Marburg, n = 774) revealed a receiver operating characteristics curve of 0.75 (95% confidence interval, 0.72; 0.81) with a sensitivity of 85.6% and a specificity of 47.2%.
This score, based only on history and physical examination, is a complementary tool for ruling out coronary heart disease in primary care patients complaining of chest pain.
Knowledge about coronary heart disease (CHD) and its risk factors is an important pre-requisite for an individual to implement behavioral changes leading towards CHD prevention. There is scant data on the status of knowledge about CHD in the general population of Pakistan. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge of CHD in a broad Pakistani population and identify the factors associated with knowledge.
Cross sectional study was carried out at four tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan using convenience sampling. Standard questionnaire was used to interview 792 patient attendants (persons accompanying patients). Knowledge was computed as a continuous variable based on correct answers to fifteen questions. Multivariable linear regression was conducted to determine the factors independently associated with knowledge.
The mean age was 38.1 (±13) years. 27.1% had received no formal education. The median knowledge score was 3.0 out of a possible maximum of 15. Only 14% were able to correctly describe CHD as a condition involving limitation in blood flow to the heart. Majority of respondents could identify only up to two risk factors for CHD. Most commonly identified risk factors were stress (43.4%), dietary fat (39.1%), smoking (31.9%) and lack of exercise (17.4%). About 20% were not able to identify even a single risk factor for CHD. Factors significantly associated with knowledge included age (p = 0.023), income (p < 0.001), education level (p < 0.001), residence (p < 0.001), a family history of CHD (p < 0.001) and a past history of diabetes (p = 0.004). Preventive practices were significantly lacking; 35%, 65.3% and 84.6% had never undergone assessment of blood pressure, glucose or cholesterol respectively. Only a minority felt that they would modify their diet, stop smoking or start exercising if a family member was to develop CHD.
This is the first study assessing the state of CHD knowledge in a relatively diverse non-patient population in Pakistan. There are striking gaps in knowledge about CHD, its risk factors and symptoms. These translate to inadequate preventive behavior patterns. Educational programs are urgently required to improve the level of understanding of CHD in the Pakistani population.