Low level of knowledge of heart attack symptoms and inappropriate anticipated treatmentseeking behaviour among older Chinese: A crosssectional survey

Pui Hing Chau, Gordon Moe, Siu Yin Lee, Jean Woo, Angela Y.M. Leung, Chi Ming Chow, Cecilia Kong, Wing Tung Lo, Ming Hay Yuen, Julie Zerwic

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Prehospital delay of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is common globally, and Hong Kong-home of a rapidly ageing Chinese population-is not an exception. Seeking emergency medical care promptly is important for patients. Treatment-seeking behaviours have been shown to be associated with knowledge of AMI symptoms and specific cultural beliefs. This study aimed to assess the level of knowledge of AMI symptoms and expected treatment-seeking behaviour among older Chinese in Hong Kong. Methods: A cross-sectional population-based survey was conducted at the Elderly Health Centres in Hong Kong from March to September 2016. Faceto-face interviews were conducted with a structured questionnaire based on previous studies and local adaptations. Results: Among 1804 people aged 65 years and above who completed the questionnaire, chest pain (80.2%), palpitations (75.8%) and fainting (71.9%) were the major symptoms recognised as AMI related. Meanwhile, stomach ache (46.9%), coughing (45.4%) and neck pain (40.8%) were recognised as not AMI related. The mean expected discomfort intensity during AMI onset was 7.7 out of 10 (SD=2.1). Regarding the expected treatmentseeking behaviour, seeking non-emergent medical care was the most popular action when AMI symptoms emerged during the day, without chest pain or with lower discomfort intensity, whereas calling an ambulance was the most common option when AMI symptoms emerged at night or with high discomfort intensity. Conclusions: To minimise delays in seeking treatment, future health education should focus on increasing the public knowledge of AMI symptoms and the need to call an ambulance during an emergency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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