Educational needs of individuals with atrial fibrillation
Martin, Danielle Rae
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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm abnormality in the United States. AF can lead to serious consequences like stroke, heart failure, and even death. Literature has shown that individuals diagnosed with atrial fibrillation have a less than desirable knowledge level about their condition. The literature has also shown that factors, such as age and level of education, may contribute to AF knowledge levels. The focus of this study was to identify AF patients' knowledge of the AF disease process, symptoms, and treatment options. The research question addressed in this study was: What are the educational needs of persons with AF? This exploratory study used a descriptive, cross sectional design to identify knowledge levels of persons with AF. Data was collected in an outpatient cardiology setting. There were twenty-seven participants. The AF Knowledge Scale was used to measure level of knowledge about the disease, recognition of symptoms, and understanding of therapy used in AF. Demographic variables were also collected and analyzed. The overall mean score for the AF Knowledge scale was 52.5%. When separated into categories, data analysis showed that participants had the highest mean score percentage in the AF attitude category (64.81%), followed by AF in general (60.49%), AF treatment (46.91%), and AF symptoms (41.98%). Demographic characteristics analyzed showed that age, length of diagnosis and AF pattern are important characteristics to consider when providing individuals education about their AF. The results of this study corroborate findings in the literature. The findings suggest that further research needs to be conducted on ways to evaluate individual knowledge about AF and development of educational interventions for AF.