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The study by Dracup et al1 published in this issue of the Archives included patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) in order to study the factors associated with patient knowledge about the condition. The identified factors can be categorized as nonmodifiable and modifiable. In the latter category, female sex, younger age, and higher education were associated with more knowledge about CAD. Ironically (or perhaps predictably), even though men knew less about symptoms of an acute myocardial infarction, they were more confident that in an emergency they could diagnose a heart attack in themselves or someone else. These findings are consistent with previous studies that have examined knowledge about cardiac risk factors. For example, female sex and younger age are associated with more knowledge about hypertension.2 Dracup et al1 suggest that the superior knowledge of women compared with men can perhaps be attributed to increasing media attention on women and coronary disease, as well as programs such as the American Heart Association's “Go Red” campaign. Dracup et al1 wisely offer no insights into why men believe that they are better equipped to handle a problem even though they have less knowledge about the topic; this age-old question, with all its consequences, is probably a subject better left to our colleagues who study history, sociology, and psychology.
Phillips RA. Another Boost for Cardiac Rehabilitation. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(10):1029. doi:10.1001/archinte.168.10.1029