Navigation Links
Poor health literacy poses risks for pacemaker and defibrillator patients
Date:8/18/2014

(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
lr2692@cumc.columbia.edu
212-342-3795
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Poor health literacy poses risks for pacemaker and defibrillator patients
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Netc , a leading provider of barcode and ... Inc. The Dataware acquisition enables Netc to continue to grow its label business, customer base ... provides customers with the ability to print and label tape media on site and on ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... That message is reaching the global health community through expanding activities that embrace ... of cancer in the resource-limited countries. , In support of this ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... ProIntro Glitch is a set of ... Film Studios’ titles allow users to add a terrifying opener to any video or ... lines and accents. To add greater contrast, all the user has to do is ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... ... In April, Amerec launched a new website designed with optimal user experience in ... sauna solutions. , First, the Amerec website has been redesigned to be easier to ... features, especially the Steam Builder Tool , to both mobile and desktop devices. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... Sue Desmond-Hellmann, ... Class of 2016 to stretch the limits of human possibility in her keynote address ... p.m. in the Georgia Dome. , Drawing on her rich experience as a scientist, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... , May 4, 2016 ... addition of the  "Global Multiple Myeloma Market ... to their offering.       (Logo: ... Myeloma Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights 2016, ... products, Multiple Myeloma epidemiology, Multiple Myeloma market ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... 4, 2016 Research ... "Global Acute Ischemic Stroke Market and Competitive ... offering.       (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ... Ischemic Stroke Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights ... Stroke pipeline products, Acute Ischemic Stroke epidemiology, ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... 4, 2016 Research ... "Global Acute Myeloid Leukemia Market and Competitive ... offering.       (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ... Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights 2016, provides ... products, Acute Myeloid Leukemia epidemiology, Acute Myeloid ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: