Open Access Research article

Safety relevant knowledge of orally anticoagulated patients without self-monitoring: a baseline survey in primary care

Jean-François Chenot12*, Thanh Duc Hua2, Manar Abu Abed4, Hannelore Schneider-Rudt2, Tim Friede3, Simon Schneider3 and Stefan Viktor Vormfelde4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Practice, Institute for Community Medicine, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany

2 Department of General Practice, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

3 Department of Medical Statistics, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

4 Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, D-37075 Göttingen, Germany

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BMC Family Practice 2014, 15:104  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-104

Published: 25 May 2014



Effective and safe management of oral anticoagulant treatment (OAT) requires a high level of patient knowledge and adherence. The aim of this study was to assess patient knowledge about OAT and factors associated with patient knowledge.


This is a baseline survey of a cluster-randomized controlled trial in 22 general practices with an educational intervention for patients or their caregivers. We assessed knowledge about general information on OAT and key facts regarding nutrition, drug-interactions and other safety precautions of 345 patients at baseline.


Participants rated their knowledge about OAT as excellent to good (56%), moderate (36%) or poor (8%). However, there was a discrepancy between self-rated knowledge and evaluated actual knowledge and we observed serious knowledge gaps. Half of the participants (49%) were unaware of dietary recommendations. The majority (80%) did not know which non-prescription analgesic is the safest and 73% indicated they would not inform pharmacists about OAT. Many participants (35-75%) would not recognize important emergency situations. After adjustment in a multivariate analysis, older age and less than 10 years education remained significantly associated with lower overall score, but not with self-rated knowledge.


Patients have relevant knowledge gaps, potentially affecting safe and effective OAT. There is a need to assess patient knowledge and for structured education programs.

Trial registration

Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien (German Clinical Trials Register): DRKS00000586.

Universal Trial Number (UTN U1111-1118-3464).