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HEART AND STROKE: Profiling Heart Profilers

A free tool works to empower patients and caregivers

BY:MYRA DEMBROW

Google the term "heart disease" and you'll get 50.3 million references. So, how do you know where to search for reliable information? Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland suggest that the American Heart Association's Heart Profilers page is a good place to start.

"Patients who used Heart Profilers reported a greater understanding of their heart medications than other heart patients who used other Internet resources," says senior author Ileana Piña, MD, professor of medicine and director of Heart Failure Transplant at Case. The study was presented in May 2007 at an AHA-sponsored scientific forum.

A free patient-education service, Heart Profilers uses confidential questionnaires to provide individualized reports on treatment options. The reports, written in simple English, list potential side effects with each option and include questions to be discussed with doctors.

Dr. Piña's team surveyed 3,000 patients with CAD (coronary artery disease), high cholesterol, hypertension, atrial fibrillation or heart failure. They found that people who used the service were more knowledgeable about their conditions than people who didn't.

"Patient education and empowerment are key pathways in reducing complications of cardiovascular disease," she says. "The Heart Profilers tool empowers patients to take control and manage their conditions."

To connect to AHA Heart Profilers, click here.