Subclinical hyperthyroid patients' knowledge about radioiodine therapy--the key role of medical information.

OBJECTIVES: Many patients with a chronic disease are dissatisfied with the information they are given. A brief questionnaire completed by patients would assist health professionals to identify areas of information needed to be provided, tailored to the patient's mental condition.

AIM: The aim of our study was to assess how often thyroid patients report being adequately informed about iodine treatment in connection with their real need thereof, emotional state and acceptance of the disease.

METHODS: One hundred outpatients who had presented subclinical hyperthyroidism "[19 men (19%), 81 women (81%); mean (SD±) age 53±14,range 18-77 yr ] treated with radioiodine (RAI) responded to an Experimental Questionnaire, 54 of them answered to AIS, HADS-M and Beck Inventory measuring their acceptance of the illness and depressive symptoms, 37 of them answered the Patient Request Form (PRF).

RESULTS: The obtained results indicated that about 50% of patients treated with 131I therapy did not receive suitable information about their treatment. Neither written information prepared by the specialist, nor verbal information given by physicians were adequate for specific problems of study group. The examined patients presented with a comparable intensity of three distinct types of requests: for explanation and reassurance, for emotional support, and for investigation and treatment. The acceptance of their disease was mediocre for most of the study group.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that the reported lack of satisfaction with medical information in study group was associated with depressive symptoms influencing cognitive efficiency, patients' great need of emotional and cognitive support, influencing the acceptance of their disease, and social prejudice to radioiodine (as a method of treatment), worrying them additionally. All thyroid patients even these with subclinical symptoms of hyperthyroidism should be treated with specific attention by physicians, especially during information process.

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