Patients may present for coronary artery bypass (CAB) with varying degrees of knowledge about their disease and its treatment. We sought to assess the relationship between level of patient knowledge and length of stay (LOS) after CAB.
A questionnaire was designed to assess patient knowledge of coronary artery disease and CAB. This included what to expect during the hospital stay and how to maximize recovery. Demographic information was collected and patients were asked to identify previous educational interventions. These included: 1) prior discussion with a physician 2) personal research using books or the internet and 3) use of a hospital-provided cardiac surgery information booklet.
One hundred patients were enrolled between September 2001 and July 2002. Mean LOS was 7.6 ± 10.4 days. Questionnaire score was not influenced by the following: 1) age 2) sex 3) internet research 4) reading the hospital information booklet and 5) knowing someone who recently underwent CAB. Predictors of decreased LOS included the following: 1) reading the hospital information booklet (6.6 vs. 9.5 days, p=0.010) and 2) internet research (5.1 vs. 7.9 days, p<0.0001). Predictors of increased LOS included the following: 1) age > 75 (10.3 vs. 6.8 days, p=0.009) 2) female sex (10.5 vs. 7.1 days, p=0.022) and 3) obesity (10.3 vs. 7.0 days, p=0.020).CONCLUSIONS: No relationship between patient knowledge and LOS after CAB was demonstrated. Patient-centered efforts to learn about CAB surgery (by conducting internet research and reading hospital-provided materials) did not result in increased knowledge of CAB, however motivation to learn may be an important predictor of length of stay after CAB.
Spending time educating patients about CAB may have low utility. Addressing poor motivation prior to elective cardiac surgery may be useful in reducing LOS.
T. Bardell, None.