Navigation Links
Poor health literacy poses risks for pacemaker and defibrillator patients

(NEW YORK, NY, August 18, 2014) Patients who rely on pacemakers and defibrillators to maintain a normal heart rhythm run the risk of serious health complications if they don't fully understand how the devices work and what to do when they experience an irregular heartbeat. But a study from Columbia University School of Nursing published this month in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing found that 40 percent of patients with these devices had little to no ability to understand information about their cardiac health.

"As a nurse practitioner, I use every patient encounter as an opportunity for education," says lead author Kathleen Hickey, EdD, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, assistant professor at Columbia Nursing. "Health literacy is a particular concern for patients with pacemakers and defibrillators because these patients need to know how to respond if they get a shock from their device. Even when the device is quiet they often need to know how to manage co-existing health conditions like diabetes, heart failure, and high blood pressure."

Risks can stem from some common misunderstandings between patients and clinicians, Hickey says. A patient might ignore advice to avoid rigorous exercise and then be surprised when experiencing an irregular heartbeat, for example. Or, patients instructed to check their pulse regularly and report any abnormal activity might not understand how to do this or what heart rate is cause for alarm. "It's not enough just to explain the same thing again in the same way," she says. "You have to stop to ask more specific questions like what activities they do in a typical day and offer simple instructions so they understand, for example, the appropriate heart rate zone for exercise."

To understand the scope of potential communication problems at the clinic where she practices in New York City, Hickey and a team of researchers evaluated the health literacy of 116 patients using a standard measure of reading and math comprehension, the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults. The study population was ethnically diverse: 37.1 percent white, 39.7 percent Hispanic, and 22.4 percent African American; 77.4 percent of the population reported finishing high school. The average age of the study population was 68. Evaluations were done in English or Spanish. Almost 30 percent of participants had inadequate health literacy, and an additional 10 percent were marginal.

The study also examined literacy among patients with medical conditions that are common among patients with pacemakers and defibrillators. Individuals with hypertension or high cholesterol were more than twice as likely to have limited health literacy as individuals without those conditions. Diabetics were almost twice as likely to have low health literacy.

"The good news here is that people are living longer with these devices," Hickey says. "The problem is that co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension can worsen with age, at the same time that cognitive function declines. This makes it more urgent, and more difficult, to improve health literacy."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define health literacy as the degree to which an individual has the ability to obtain, communicate, and comprehend basic health information and treatments to make appropriate decisions about care. Limited health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes, higher rates of hospitalizations, increased use of the emergency department, improper use of medications, and higher health care costs.


Contact: Lisa Rapaport
Columbia University Medical Center

Related medicine news :

1. NuvaRing Lawsuits Look Toward Settlement as Health Canada Issues NuvaRing Contraceptive Warning
2. Dr. Christian Athanassious Joins the Total Spine Health Program at SRO
3. Healthy Grid Offers Enhanced Customization for Dental Web Marketing Tools
4. Home Healthcare Software and Services Market worth $6.4billion by 2018 - Research Report by MarketsandMarkets
5. LINET Wins 2014 Healthy Charlotte Award
6. Fertility Specialist Bryan R. Hecht, MD, Named Medical Director of Allegheny Health Network’s Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine
7. Clients Can Qualify for Whole Life Insurance If They Have Pre-Existing Health Problems
8. CarePoint Health Physicians Recognized as Top Doctors in New Jersey
9. Cirracore Sponsors Healthcare Hackathon in Atlanta
10. Who Has the Healthiest Roots in America?
11. Florida Hospital Carrollwood is Teaming Up With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Provide Occupational Health Services to Bucs Employees
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Poor health literacy poses risks for pacemaker and defibrillator patients
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... 28, 2015 , ... Safe storage for contraceptive devices may not always be ... New Jersey and the other from Bradley Beach, New Jersey, there is an easy ... of having to replace NuvaRings more often than necessary. As such, it affords peace ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... There is only one major question facing all ... year? , This question has not been an easy question to answer. Especially when ... and the younger workforce don’t share the same discipline around working long hours. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... care in America. As people age, more care is needed, especially with Alzheimer’s, ... and medical professionals are being overworked. The forgotten part of this equation: 80 ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion that will run ... purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a complimentary head Check ... lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we encourage all of ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... motto of progress through sharing, the 2016 Building Better Radiology Marketing Programs ... conference will begin on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at Caesars Palace in Las ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26 november 2015 AAIPharma Services ... geplande investering aan van ten minste $15,8 ... en het mondiale hoofdkantoor in ... resulteren in extra kantoorruimte en extra capaciteit ... groeiende behoeften van de farmaceutische en biotechnologische ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Pacemaker Market Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders ... report to their offering. Boston ... Boston scientific and others. --> ... Biotronik, Boston scientific and others. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ... the  "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Competitive Intelligence, ... --> ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: