Communicating acute coronary syndrome risk to women in primary care: A scoping review of the literature

Elizabeth P. Knight, Maribeth Slebodnik, Clare Pinder, Holli A. DeVon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Delay from symptom onset to hospital arrival drives poor outcomes in acute coronary syndrome (ACS), particularly for women. Primary care clinicians can discuss ACS with high-risk women, potentially reducing delay. We conducted a scoping review to assess what is known about ACS risk communication to women in primary care. Methods: We used Arksey and O'Malley's framework. The PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Embase databases were searched for relevant articles from inception through September, 2018. No restrictions on study methodology were applied. At least two reviewers assessed each article. Articles addressing risk communication, coronary heart disease, and ACS, related to primary care settings, and including women were retained. Results: Eleven articles met inclusion criteria. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk communication is common in primary care; however, ACS symptoms are rarely discussed. Structured risk calculators are used to frame discussions. Communication styles include patient-centered discussions, paternalistic orders, and “scare tactics;” no single style is more effective. Analysis of gender differences in risk communication is extremely limited. Conclusion: There is scant evidence that primary care clinicians communicate effectively about ACS risk, symptoms, and appropriate symptom response. Practice implications: Interventions are needed to improve communication about ACS to at-risk women in the primary care setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2156-2161
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Primary care
  • Risk communication
  • Scoping review
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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