Psychological influence of the media on patients commencing oral anticoagulation in atrial fibrillation: a qualitative analysis

C. Borg Xuereb, R.L. Shaw, Gregory Y.H. Lip, Deirdre A. Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Oral anticoagulation (OAC) reduces stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF); however it is still underutilized and sometimes refused by patients. Two inter-related studies were undertaken to understand the experiences and what influences this un- derutilisation of warfarin treatment in AF patients. These studies explored physician and patient experiences of AF and OAC treatment. The paper focuses on specific sub-themes from the study that explored patients’ experiences will be discussed. Aim: The study in question aimed to explore the experiences which influence patients’ decisions to accept, decline or discontinue OAC. Methods: Semi-structured individual interviews with patients were con- ducted. Three sub-groups of patients (n = 11) diagnosed with AF were interviewed; those who accepted, refused, and who discontinued war- farin. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to examine the data. IPA is a qualitative method that focuses on how participants make sense of an experiences phenomenon
Results: Three over-arching themes comprised patients’ experiences: (i)the initial consultation, (ii) life after the consultation, and (iii) patients’reflections. In the last theme, patients reflected on their perceptions ofaspirin and warfarin. Aspirin was perceived as a natural wonder-drugwhile warfarin was perceived as a dangerous drug usually given to peo-ple at the end of their life. Interestingly they perceive both drugs as‘old’. However, for aspirin it had a positive association, old meaningtried and tested. While for warfarin, old meant ‘has been around fortoo long’.Conclusion: Media had an important role in how patients’ perceptionsof these two drugs were influenced. Literature shows that framingtechniques, i.e. using certain words or phrases such as ‘rat poison’, areprocesses adopted by media to alter medical knowledge into lay per-son’s language. Patients in turn form negative cognitive schemas,between the word ‘poison’ and warfarin, leading to the negative per-ception of warfarin which could influence non-adherence to treatment.This qualitative research highlighted the potential influences of themedia on AF patient perceptions commencing OAC treatment. Theassociation between media stimuli and patient perceptions on OACshould be further explored. The influential power of lay-media couldalso be instrumental in disseminating appropriate educational materialto the public
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPB 3.48-6
Pages (from-to)827-282
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue numberS2
Early online date21 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
EventXXIV congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 29 Jun 20134 Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

Abstracts of the XXIV Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis


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