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Int J Clin Pract. 2012 Oct;66(10):984-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2012.02996.x.

Factors associated with 'caregiver burden' for atrial fibrillation patients.

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Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Storrs, CT 06102-5037, USA.



The burden on caregivers providing support to atrial fibrillation (AF) patients has not been evaluated.


To examine the interrelationship between unpaid caregiver, patient and thromboprophylaxis characteristics and caregiver burden in AF.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey study of AF patient-caregiver dyads recruited from cardiology clinics at an urban teaching hospital. Eligible patients had a diagnosis of AF, received thromboprophylaxis to prevent stroke, lived in the community and had an adult, unpaid, English-speaking caregiver. Hierarchical multivariate regression was used to evaluate the association between caregiver, patient and thromboprophylaxis characteristics and caregiver burden as measured by the 'Caregiver Reaction Assessment' (CRA).


Eighty patient-caregiver dyads were surveyed. The mean ± standard deviation scores for each CRA domain were 'Disrupted schedule' (2.4 ± 1.0), 'Financial problems' (2.1 ± 0.8), 'Lack of family support' (1.9 ± 0.7), 'Health problems' (1.9 ± 0.7) and 'Self-esteem' (0.9 ± 0.5). Significantly greater caregiver burden due to 'Disrupted schedule' was seen in those spending > 4 h/week providing care and when caring for frail, sick or disabled patients, with higher CHADS2 scores and requiring help with their medications. 'Financial problems' burden scores were significantly associated with caring for frail patients and those requiring more frequent office follow-up. 'Lack of family support' scores were inversely associated with having somebody else to help provide care and increased as patients CHADS2 score increased. Lower 'Health problem' burden scores were associated with female gender and higher scores with the need to spend > 4 h/week providing care.


The greatest burden to caregivers of AF patients occurs due to schedule disruption.

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