Text to prevent repeat heart attacks

Sydney researchers are calling for the implementation of a simple text message system to improve the health of heart attack survivors after it was shown to help reduce weight, blood pressure and cholesterol and was well received by patients.

Westmead Hospital cardiologist Clara Chow said the Tobacco, Exercise and Diet Messages (TEXT ME) trial used a very simple mobile health strategy that could be provided routinely by hospitals as part of a discharge program for heart attack survivors as well as other conditions like stroke.

The TEXT ME trial used an automated, computerised message management system to send texts selected from a bank of messages to trial participants. The messages gave advice and motivational reminders about diet and nutrition, exercise and smoking, based on freely available resources such as those provided by the Heart Foundation.

The trial involved 710 people attending Westmead Hospital with proven coronary heart disease. Half received 4 text messages a week for 6 months in addition to standard care, while the remainder received their standard care.

At 6 months, levels of LDL-C were significantly lower in the intervention group, with concurrent reductions in systolic blood pressure and body mass index. It also saw significant increases in physical activity and a significant reduction in smoking.

Effect of Lifestyle-Focused Text Messaging on Risk Factor Modification in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial; Clara K. Chow, et al. JAMA.2015;314(12):1255-1263. (Available through CIAP).

About the trial.

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