Background. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in clinical practice, particularly in the elderly. AF is considered an independent predictor of mortality and risk factor for stroke. AF-related stroke is usually severe and associated with a high rate of mortality and disability. Despite its prevalence, AF is a poorly known disease and it is underestimated by the general population. The aim of the Censis survey was to analyze the levels of AF knowledge and information in the Italian population and the level of AF risk awareness by general practitioners and AF patients. Methods. The survey included structured interviews with a sample of 1000 Italian citizens aged ≥18 years, 300 general practitioners, and 1200 AF patients. Results. The analysis confirmed low levels of knowledge of AF. In particular, the results showed that only one third of Italians know AF that is however perceived as a severe disease. In this subgroup, the risk of stroke associated with AF is known by 65%, but it is also widespread the wrong concept that AF is associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction. The lack of knowledge of AF and its complications by the Italian population is due to educational gaps of general practitioners. In particular, only 50% of the Italian general practitioners perceive the thromboembolic risk of paroxysmal AF as comparable to that of permanent AF. In addition, there is an underuse of the scores for thromboembolic and hemorrhagic risk stratification recommended by current guidelines and a frequent use of antiplatelet therapy rather than oral anticoagulant therapy. There is also a low level of knowledge and awareness of the disease among AF patients. However, the majority of AF patients are aware of the importance of antithrombotic prophylaxis for stroke prevention. Conclusions. This study demonstrates limited knowledge and awareness of AF in the general population and also among general practitioners and affected patients.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Censis survey in Italy on the level of knowledge on atrial fibrillation of the citizens, general practitioners and patients|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Cardiologia|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine