Cardiovascular health knowledge and behavior in patient attendants at four tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan – a cause for concernReport as inadecuate

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BMC Public Health

, 5:124

First Online: 25 November 2005Received: 08 May 2005Accepted: 25 November 2005DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-5-124

Cite this article as: Jafary, F.H., Aslam, F., Mahmud, H. et al. BMC Public Health 2005 5: 124. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-5-124


BackgroundKnowledge about coronary heart disease CHD and its risk factors is an important pre-requisite for an individual to implement behavioral changes leading towards CHD prevention. There is scant data on the status of knowledge about CHD in the general population of Pakistan. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge of CHD in a broad Pakistani population and identify the factors associated with knowledge.

MethodsCross sectional study was carried out at four tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan using convenience sampling. Standard questionnaire was used to interview 792 patient attendants persons accompanying patients. Knowledge was computed as a continuous variable based on correct answers to fifteen questions. Multivariable linear regression was conducted to determine the factors independently associated with knowledge.

ResultsThe mean age was 38.1 ±13 years. 27.1% had received no formal education. The median knowledge score was 3.0 out of a possible maximum of 15. Only 14% were able to correctly describe CHD as a condition involving limitation in blood flow to the heart. Majority of respondents could identify only up to two risk factors for CHD. Most commonly identified risk factors were stress 43.4%, dietary fat 39.1%, smoking 31.9% and lack of exercise 17.4%. About 20% were not able to identify even a single risk factor for CHD. Factors significantly associated with knowledge included age p = 0.023, income p < 0.001, education level p < 0.001, residence p < 0.001, a family history of CHD p < 0.001 and a past history of diabetes p = 0.004. Preventive practices were significantly lacking; 35%, 65.3% and 84.6% had never undergone assessment of blood pressure, glucose or cholesterol respectively. Only a minority felt that they would modify their diet, stop smoking or start exercising if a family member was to develop CHD.

ConclusionThis is the first study assessing the state of CHD knowledge in a relatively diverse non-patient population in Pakistan. There are striking gaps in knowledge about CHD, its risk factors and symptoms. These translate to inadequate preventive behavior patterns. Educational programs are urgently required to improve the level of understanding of CHD in the Pakistani population.

List of abbreviationsAKUAga Khan University Hospital

PIMSPakistan Institute of Medical Sciences

MayoMayo Hospital

AGHAllied General Hospital

SDstandard deviation.

CHDcoronary heart disease.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-5-124 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Fahim H Jafary - Fawad Aslam - Hussain Mahmud - Abdul Waheed - Murtaza Shakir - Atif Afzal - Mohammad A Qayyum - Javed A


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