A pre-test post-test study of a brief educational intervention demonstrates improved knowledge of potential acute myocardial infarction symptoms and appropriate responses in cardiac rehabilitation patients

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Journal Article
Australian Critical Care, 2013, 26 (2), pp. 49 - 54
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Background: Patient delay in recognizing and responding to potential acute myocardial infarction (AMI) symptoms is an international issue. Cardiac rehabilitation provides an ideal opportunity to deliver an intervention. Aims: This study examines an individual educational intervention on knowledge of heart attack warning signs and specific chest pain action plans for people with coronary heart disease. Methods: Cardiac rehabilitation participants at five hospitals were assessed at program entry and tailored education was provided using the Heart Foundation of Australia's Heart Attack Warning Signs campaign educational tool. Participants (n= 137) were reassessed at program conclusion (six to eight weeks). Results: Study participants had a mean age of 64.48 years (SD 12.22), were predominantly male (78%) and most commonly presented with a current referral diagnosis of a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (80%) and/or AMI (60%). There were statistically significant improvements in the reporting of 11 of the 14 warning signs of heart attack, with patients reporting 2.56 more warning signs on average at outcome (p< .0001). Patients reported more heart attack warning signs if they had completed high school education (β= 1.14) or had better knowledge before the intervention (β= .57). There were statistically significant improvements in reporting of all appropriate actions in response to potential AMI symptoms, with patients reporting an average of 1.3 more actions at outcome (p< .001), with no change in the median time they would tolerate symptoms (p= .16). Conclusions: A brief education session using a single standardised tool and adapted to a patient assessment is effective in improving knowledge of potential AMI symptoms and appropriate responses in cardiac rehabilitation up to two months following. © 2012 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd.
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