The cardiovascular patient's perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine.
BACKGROUND: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is common among patients with cardiovascular disorders and is generally underrecognized by physicians. The attitudes of these patients regarding these therapies and their perceptions of safety and efficacy have not been well defined. METHODS: A written survey was received from a cohort of outpatients seen at a large outpatient cardiovascular clinic in Texas. Over 75% of patients responded, with more than 90% of returned surveys adequate for analysis. RESULTS: Of the 210 respondents 113 admitted to CAM use, with Vitamins E and C being the most frequently utilized agents. Women were significantly more likely to take CAM than men (69 vs. 46%, p = 0.002), particularly those taking hormone replacement therapy. Over half of patients surveyed stated their cardiologist was unaware of their use of CAM. Only 15% of patients felt that CAM was more efficacious than their traditional medications, but almost half felt it was significantly safer. A similar number were unaware of any interactions between CAM and their other medications. CONCLUSIONS: Use of CAM is common in cardiology outpatients, and many patients remain unaware of potential health risks. Physicians should routinely question patients about use of CAM and attempt to educate users regarding potential health risks.
Krasuski, RA; Michaelis, K; Eckart, RE
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