Abstract 11578: Factors Associated With Delay in Seeking Treatment for Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
Background: Untreated atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major contributor to disabling embolic strokes, heart failure, and exacerbation of existing cardiac conditions. Over 2/3 of individuals with symptoms of AF do not seek treatment within a week of symptom onset resulting in missed opportunities for vital early treatment of AF.
Purpose: The purpose of this study, guided by Leventhal’s Common Sense Model, was to identify factors associated with delay (> 1 week after symptom onset) in seeking treatment for symptoms prior to the diagnosis of AF.
Methods: Participants (N =150) recruited from an academic medical center, participated in a structured interview. Symptom type and characteristics; beliefs about symptom cause, seriousness, and controllability; emotional and behavioral coping responses to symptoms; and time from symptom onset to seeking treatment were assessed. Chi-Square or Fisher’s Exact tests were used to identify factors associated with delay in seeking treatment.
Results: Participants were 51% female with a mean age of 66.5, SD = 11.1 years. Symptom type and characteristics, beliefs about the cause and seriousness of symptoms, and cognitive and behavioral coping responses to symptoms were associated with delay in seeking treatment. See Table.
Conclusions: Delay in seeking treatment for symptoms was associated with participants’ inability to attribute their symptoms to AF and cognitive and behavioral coping responses that indicated an inability to recognize the significance of the symptoms. There is an opportunity for educational interventions to increase awareness of AF and its symptoms and appropriate treatment seeking behaviors.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.