Matters of the Heart: Instrument Development and Education to Test Women's Knowledge of Female MI Symptoms Using Acronyms

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 10:50 AM

Melanie Kalman, PhD, RN
College of Nursing, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
Pamela Fahs, DSN
Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

Learning Objective 1: Identify the method of tool development that tests women’s knowledge of MI symptoms.

Learning Objective 2: Appraise an educational program on women’s knowledge of MI symptoms.

Purpose: Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women. Women with CHD exhibit more risk factors then men but are less likely to link these risk factors to future MIs. Women’s MI symptoms are different from men, yet they are less likely to recognize MI symptoms and to seek treatment. No instruments exist that test a general female population on women’s knowledge of MI symptoms and no educational program using acronyms. The purpose is to develop an educational program and an instrument testing a diverse group of women’s knowledge of MIs and heart disease.

Methods: In focus groups (n=20) subjects were asked to share perceptions of heart attacks and heart disease in women. The initial instrument was adapted from several other instruments using the focus group data.  An expert panel examined the instrument for content validity.  Fifty subjects were given a pretest, followed by an educational intervention using two acronyms, and a posttest to assess if knowledge increased. Some of the subjects (n=10) participated in individual interviews to examine how subjects felt the items on the test matched information presented in the program and their understanding of the items. The instrument was revised and made more concise based on quantitative and qualitative analysis.
Results: Women's knowledge of female MI symptoms can be measured in a valid and reliable manner.

Conclusion:   It is important to increase cardiac knowledge for women so that they will modify risk behaviors and seek earlier treatment for cardiac issues. Education that is tested with a reliable and valid instrument is essential as the first step. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and educational interventions must be tested to see if they are efficacious in teaching women about MI symptoms so that they become more heart healthy.