Reducing patient delay with symptoms of acute coronary syndrome: a research protocol for a systematic review of previous interventions to investigate which behaviour change techniques are associated with effective interventions

Barbara Farquharson, Stephan Dombrowski, Alex Pollock, Marie Johnston, Shaun Treweek, Brian Williams, Karen Smith, Nadine Dougall, Claire Jones, Stuart Pringle

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Introduction: Delay to presentation with symptoms of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is common meaning many fail to achieve optimal benefit from treatments.
Interventions have had variable success in reducing delay. Evidence suggests inclusion of behaviour change techniques (BCTs) may improve effectiveness of
interventions but this has not yet been systematically evaluated. Data from other time-critical conditions may be relevant.
Methods and analysis: A systematic review will be undertaken to identify which BCTs are associated with effective interventions to reduce patient delay (or prompt rapid help-seeking) among people with time-critical conditions (eg, chest pain, ACS, lumps, stroke, cancer and meningitis). A systematic search of a wide range of databases (including Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycInfo) and grey literature will be undertaken to identify all relevant intervention studies (randomised controlled trials, controlled clinical trials and
cohort studies). Two independent reviewers will screen abstracts to identify relevant studies, apply inclusion criteria to full papers, assess methodological quality and extract data.
Primary outcome measure: Change in patient decision time BCTs reported in each of the included studies will be categorised and presented according to
the latest reliable taxonomy. Results of included studies will be synthesised, exploring relationships between inclusion of each BCT and effectiveness of the overall intervention. Where possible, means and SDs for differences in delay time will be calculated and combined within meta-analyses to derive a standardised mean difference and 95% CI. Analysis of (1) all time-critical and (2) ACS-only interventions will be undertaken.
Ethics and dissemination: No ethical issues are anticipated. Results will be submitted for publication in a relevant peer-reviewed journal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalOpen Heart
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2014



  • acute coronary syndrome
  • research protocol
  • behaviour change techniques
  • interventions

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