Health literacy in heart transplantation: Prevalence, correlates and associations with health behaviors—Findings from the international BRIGHT study

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Journal Article
Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 2017, 36 (3), pp. 272 - 279
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© 2017 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation Background Health literacy (HL) is a major determinant of health outcomes; however, there are few studies exploring the role of HL among heart transplant recipients. The objectives of this study were to: (1) explore and compare the prevalence of inadequate HL among heart transplant recipients internationally; (2) determine the correlates of HL; and (3) assess the relationship between HL and health-related behaviors. Methods A secondary analysis was conducted using data of the 1,365 adult patients from the BRIGHT study, an international multicenter, cross-sectional study that surveyed heart transplant recipients across 11 countries and 4 continents. Using the Subjective Health Literacy Screener, inadequate HL was operationalized as being confident in filling out medical forms none/a little/some of the time (HL score of 0 to 2). Correlates of HL were determined using backward stepwise logistic regression. The relationship between HL and the health-related behaviors were examined using hierarchical logistic regression. Results Overall, 33.1% of the heart transplant recipients had inadequate HL. Lower education level (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.24, p < 0.001), unemployment (AOR 0.69, p = 0.012) and country (residing in Brazil, AOR 0.25, p < 0.001) were shown to be associated with inadequate HL. Heart transplant recipients with adequate HL had higher odds of engaging in sufficient physical activity (AOR 1.6, p = 0.016). HL was not significantly associated with the other health behaviors. Conclusions Clinicians should recognize that almost one third of heart transplant participants have inadequate health literacy. Furthermore, they should adopt communication strategies that could mitigate the potential negative impact of inadequate HL.
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