Education is considered a crucial element in anticoagulation management for patients with atrial fibrillation, valvular disease, ischemic heart disease, and venous thromboembolism. However, the effects of education on the patients prescribed warfarin are seldom investigated.
This integrative review was conducted to explore the effects of educational programs on patients prescribed warfarin for the aforementioned cardiovascular diseases and to identify the components of effective programs.
A systematic search of clinical trials was performed in 8 databases from inception to August 2020. Two reviewers performed the eligibility assessment, methodological evaluation, and data extraction. A total of 9 studies were included and analyzed via narrative synthesis.
Nine studies involving a combined total of 1335 patients were included in the review. The findings suggest that educational programs have potential benefits related to international normalized ratio control and warfarin knowledge. However, their effects on major bleeding and thromboembolic events are unremarkable. Stronger evidence is recommended to confirm these findings, and the limited evidence examining the effects of education on warfarin adherence, minor bleeding, abnormal international normalized ratio, readmission rate, and warfarin-related mortality requires further exploration. Verbal education supported by written materials was the main educational delivery mode. A lecture length of approximately 45 minutes was likely appropriate. Notably, the integration of educational strategies, application of follow-up interventions and monitoring measures, adoption of psychological theories in program development, and inclusion of nurses or pharmacists in program conduction seemed to be effective program components.
The effects of educational programs on patients prescribed warfarin mainly for atrial fibrillation, valvular disease, ischemic heart disease, and venous thromboembolism remain inconclusive. Further research using randomized controlled trials is warranted.