Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Stony Brook School of Medicine (SBSM) compared the effectiveness of two pre-procedural approaches in order to improve patients’ knowledge of consent elements, since heart procedures still cause many misperceptions among patients, according to a study published today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
“Patients who undergo heart procedures often have a poor understanding of their disease and of related therapeutic risks, benefits and alternatives,” said Dr. Todd Rosengart, senior author of the study and DeBakey Bard Chair of Surgery in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at BCM.
The study included 102 patients who underwent first time elective outpatient cardiac catheterization (a procedure used to for diagnoses and minor treatments). Some of the patients also underwent percutaneous coronary interventions, a non-surgical procedure to restore narrowed coronary arteries.
The participants were studied in two separate, different groups. One received scripted verbal or written consent process, whereas the second group received web-based and audiovisual presentations. The latter group revealed greater improvement in identifying treatment alternatives. Both groups were studied using pre-consent and post-consent questionnaires to understand the changes in patients’ comprehension of risks, benefits and alternative treatment. Either group showed improvements at these levels.
Despite the good results, researchers are still concerned about the level of misperceptions that persist among patients, namely, confusion on survival benefits and prevention of future heart problems. Therefore, Dr. Rosengart wants to launch further studies in the near future.
“Although we showed improved patient comprehension with both groups, important misconceptions regarding outcomes and alternatives persist. Considerable challenges still exist in educating patients about contemplated medical procedures,” said Dr. Rosengart.
The study was funded by BCM. Other study authors involved include Shubha Dathatri and Jatin Anand, from BCM, and Luis Gruberg, Jamie Romeiser, Shephali Sharma, Eileen Finnin and Laurie W. Shroyer from Stony Brook School of Medicine.