1. Schmitt, Emily MSN, RN

Article Content


Heart disease kills almost a million of Americans a year, even though over half of these deaths are preventable. Men and women can differ in their reported symptoms of angina, which can lead to the misdiagnosis and mistreatment of heart disease. Enhanced gender specific cardiac patient education can provide substantial benefits toward the negative outcomes associated with heart disease. This could also assist patients in making informed decisions of their care, after consulting with their doctor, to improve their quality of life.



Current research has shown that there is a disparity between women and men in the diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and outcomes of CHD.



Current literature recommends that counseling and patient education can provide substantial benefits toward the negative effects of CHD. Sufficient information and understanding of heart disease are needed to make informed decisions of care. Well-designed education programs regarding CHD can improve patient outcomes.



The research was conducted by collaborating members of an interdisciplinary team including cardiologists, cardiac rehabilitation RN's, and the Critical Care CNS. In a hospital setting, a questionnaire was developed (as data collection) and given to any patient with or at risk for heart disease to evaluate the gender-specific perceptions regarding many aspects of heart disease. Patients excluded were the patients too ill to approach, unable to read or understand English, or had underlying neurological deficits.



After collecting 100 completed questionnaires, the data indicated that patients felt a need for improved gender-specific patient education regarding their heart disease. A cardiac discharge teaching manual was designed and implemented specifically for both genders encompassing information regarding: the heart, heart disease, diagnostic and interventional procedures, medications, diet, home care, preventative measures, risk factors, recovery process, resources, stress management, exercise/activity, and other contributing factors such as diabetes, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.



As CNSs, it is our responsibility to provide patients with the most current evidence-based information regarding their health.


Implications for Practice:

Strategies to implement the manual include networking available resources, present evidence and motivation toward quality patient education, and the use of a data collection tool to evaluate the need for change at the facility chosen.