Abstract P226: Decreasing Cardiovascular Risk via Hypertriglyceridemia Treatment: The Impact of Medical Education on Physician Understanding of the Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Introduction: Triglycerides, although lacking the strong atherogenic potential of LDL-C, are an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), as demonstrated by the correlation between hypertriglyceridemia and cardiovascular (CV) death, CV events, and myocardial infarction. The impact of continuing medical education (CME) on improving the knowledge and competence of cardiologists in treating hypertriglyceridemia with omega-3 fatty acids was measured.
Methods: Cardiologists in the US who treat patients with hypertriglyceridemia participated in an online CME activity on the role of omega-3 fatty acids in treating hypertriglyceridemia and the differences between available formulations. The educational impact was assessed using linked pre- and post-assessment questions, and participants were classified into one of 3 learning categories: improved learners (incorrect pre, correct post), reinforced learners (correct pre and post), and unaffected learners (incorrect pre and post). The educational effect size was calculated using Cohen's d formula.
Results: A total of 169 cardiologists participated in the CME activity, completed the pre- and post-assessment, and were included in the analysis. Comparison of pre- and post-assessment responses for each individual question demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in knowledge and competence among cardiologists (P <.05).
After completion of the CME activity, correct responses on post-assessment questions increased between 25% to 158% across all questions compared to pre-assessment responses, with an overall large effect size of 1.065 (Small effect ,<0.4; intermediate effect, 0.4-0.8; large effect, >0.8). Between 17% and 51% of participants showed improvement in understanding individual learning concepts; these concepts were reinforced in 18% to 28% of participants. Improvement was demonstrated in understanding recent American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) guideline recommendations on the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia. There was a need for further education in understanding the mechanism of action of omega-3 fatty acids, the differences between prescription and supplement forms of omega-3 fatty acids, and the pharmacodynamic differences between the different formulations of omega-3 fatty acids.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated the success of a targeted educational intervention on improving the knowledge and competence of US cardiologists on the role of omega-3 fatty acids to treat hypertriglyceridemia and reduce CVD. However, the need for additional education was also demonstrated among cardiologists with regard to understanding the different omega-3 fatty acid formulations and their mechanisms of action in order to effectively use these agents.
Author Disclosures: A. Larkin: None. G. Boutsalis: None. M. LaCouture: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.