Research Output
Adherence to Cardiac Medications in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: A Pilot Study
Non-adherence to medications is common in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), increasing the risk of stroke, co-morbidities, and AF symptoms. Understanding factors influencing medication adherence is important in providing holistic care to patients with AF. This study aimed to explore medication adherence in patients with AF, and explore associations with health literacy, cognition, or AF knowledge.

A single-centre pilot study, using survey questionnaires and open questions. Patients with a primary cardiac diagnosis, with AF as primary or secondary diagnosis, were eligible for recruitment. During hospitalisation, adherence to cardiac medications was assessed using the Basel Assessment of Adherence to Immunosuppressive Medication Scale (BAASIS). Health literacy, cognition, and AF knowledge were assessed through validated questionnaires. Facilitators and barriers for medication adherence were obtained through open-ended question and coded using a content analysis approach.

Fifty-four (54) patients were recruited (61% male, mean age 71±11). Twenty-two (22) participants (41%) were classified as non-adherent using the BAASIS; with a corresponding self-reported adherence of 87.7% in non-adherent participants compared to 97.8% in adherent participants. No associations were identified between medication adherence and cognition, health literacy, or AF knowledge. Facilitators for adherence included external assistance, routines, and medication knowledge, and these were reported by both adherent and non-adherent participants. Non-adherent participants reported more barriers including medication concerns, forgetfulness, and lifestyle factors.

Large numbers of AF patients are likely to be non-adherent to medications. Medication adherence is influenced by multiple factors, individual to each patient. Diverse strategies are required to ensure adherence to cardiac medications.

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  • Date:

    05 December 2019

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  • Publisher

    Elsevier BV

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  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Pacleb, A., Lowres, N., Randall, S., Neubeck, L., & Gallagher, R. (2020). Adherence to Cardiac Medications in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: A Pilot Study. Heart, Lung and Circulation, 29(7), e131-e139.



Atrial fibrillation, Medication adherence, Health literacy, Cognition

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