The information needs of patients with atrial fibrillation: A scoping review

Brigitte F.Y. Woo, Lemma N. Bulto, Jeroen M.L. Hendriks, Toon Wei Lim, Wilson W.S. Tam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To identify the atrial fibrillation (AF)-specific information needs of patients with AF. 

Background: Patients’ understanding of AF is pertinent to optimising treatment and outcomes, thus highlighting the need for effective patient education. The information required to deliver effective AF-specific patient education is less examined. 

Methods: Guided by Arksey and O’Malley's framework, a scoping review was conducted for studies reporting the AF-specific information needs of patients with AF. Systematic searches were conducted across six databases (Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, PsycINFO and ProQuest). All analyses were narrated in prose and outlined in tables. The PRISMA-ScR checklist was used to report this review. 

Results: The systematic search yielded 3816 articles, of which 22 were included. Three major themes emerged from the thematic analysis. Each theme was supported by three subthemes. First, in ‘Understanding AF’, patients reported the need for ‘Easy-to-understand information’, information on the ‘Screening and diagnosis’ of AF and ‘Trajectory of disease and its associated risks’. Second, in ‘Treating AF’, patients required information on the ‘Role of anticoagulation’, ‘Existing or novel therapeutic options’ and ‘Monitoring effectiveness of treatment’. Lastly, in ‘Living with AF’, patients needed education in ‘Symptom management’, ‘Secondary prevention of risks’ and ‘Recognition of emergency situations’. 

Conclusions: This review has identified the key AF-specific information needs of patients with AF. Being cognisant of the information needs of patients with AF, healthcare providers may become more effective in developing person-centred patient education interventions. 

Relevance to clinical practice: Delivering relevant patient education is an important cornerstone for atrial fibrillation care. Nurses by convention play a professional role in patient education. It may be facilitative for nurses to refer to the review findings when developing and implementing patient education interventions. Being in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, patient education strategies may require the use of telecommunication technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521-1533
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number9-10
Early online date12 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • arrhythmias
  • atrial fibrillation
  • cardiac
  • patient education
  • review


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