Patsy Spratling, PhD

Advisor, Ercia Pryor, PhD, RN

Cardiovascular disease knowledge and risk perception among women with recent preeclampsia: Interventional education in disease management and prevention

There is a growing body of evidence linking preeclampsia to future development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although CVD is well-known as the leading cause of death in women, a lack of evidence exists demonstrating that women with preeclampsia are routinely informed of their risks for future CVD. The specific aims of this study were to: (1) examine the levels of CVD knowledge and perception of CVD risk pre-CVD education; (2) explore relationships among age, race, parity, marital status, previous preeclampsia, income, education, CVD knowledge, and perception of CVD risk; and (3) examine the effect of a postpartum CVD educational intervention on personal perception of CVD risk in women with new-onset preeclampsia.

Using telephone-based interviews, baseline levels of CVD knowledge and CVD risk perception were examined among 64 women with recent, new-onset preeclampsia. Relationships among CVD knowledge, CVD risk perception, and several covariates (age, race, parity, marital status, previous preeclampsia, income, and education) were also examined. The intervention of CVD education was provided after baseline data were collected; CVD risk perception was reexamined post-CVD education.

At baseline, CVD knowledge was found to be a significant predictor of CVD risk perception, accounting for 8.4% of explained variance (p = 0.011). Although none of the covariates significantly influenced CVD risk perception, the factors of age and income significantly influenced CVD knowledge (R2 = 0.226; p =.001). After CVD education, levels of CVD risk perception were significantly higher than at baseline (paired t = - 2.3; p = 0.003).

Accurate perceptions of CVD risk have been associated with demonstrable behaviors suggestive of risk reduction. As an intervention, CVD education, provided by telephone, served as a practical and effective approach to reaching women with recent, new-onset preeclampsia. Results of the CVD risk perception scale from baseline to post-CVD education demonstrated that CVD education significantly increased perceptions of personal CVD risk among women with recent, new-onset preeclampsia.

The full abstract can be found here.