Assessment of the information sources and interest in research collaboration among individuals with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Published on Jan 1, 2020in Annals of Vascular Surgery1.179
· DOI :10.1016/j.avsg.2019.06.010
Sherene Shalhub13
Estimated H-index: 13
(UW: University of Washington),
Liz Sage1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UW: University of Washington)
+ 6 AuthorsVascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Collaborative
Abstract Objective Patient centered research requires active engagement of patients. The Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (vEDS) research collaborative was established to ascertain patient-centered vEDS research priorities and to engage affected individuals as research partners. Evaluation of access to information and interest in research among individuals with vEDS was the first step undertaken as part of this work. Methods A 28 question survey was created to evaluate four domains of interest: Diagnostic and clinical care history, vEDS experience, information resources, and willingness to collaborate with researchers. The survey was created in REDCapTM and disseminated between January and April 2018 via the vEDS social media pages, blogs, and advocacy websites. Results were collated and described. A single open-ended question yielded additional narrative data, which were analyzed qualitatively. Results Of the 300 responses, 228 (76%) were completed on behalf of oneself. The vEDS diagnosis was confirmed by genetic testing for 85% of respondents. When asked “Did a physician explain vEDS to you and how to manage it?” 25% answered “No”. Most had a primary care provider (PCP) (65%), a cardiologist (56%), and a vascular surgeon (52%). Only 32% had a local vascular surgeon. The most commonly reported frustration was “No cure/treatment available” and the “Emergency rooms do not know what VEDS is” (64.5% and 61.8% respectively). The Internet was the most useful information source (62.3%) followed by a geneticist (18.4%). Most (87.7%) are willing to share their medical records for research studies (87.7%) and wished to be contacted about future studies (83.8%), however, only 65.4% would be willing to upload medical records via a secure confidential web application. The most common reason for interest in research partnership was to advance research for a treatment/cure (83.8%) and helping others learn from their experiences (82.9%). The qualitative analysis provided additional insights into the patient experience living with vEDS. Conclusions Among individuals with vEDS there is substantial frustration with the lack of treatment, lack of knowledge among health care providers, and a high degree of interest in research involvement. The survey highlights an opportunity to discuss the optimal modality for research participation and methodologies for building trust in the research teams. The methodology lessons learned can also be applied to other rare vascular diseases.
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