YouTube as a source of patient information for abdominal aortic aneurysms
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OBJECTIVE: Patients are increasingly referring to the Internet after a diagnosis of vascular disease. This study was performed to quantitatively define the accuracy and reliability of information on YouTube regarding abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). METHODS: A systematic search of YouTube was conducted using multiple AAA-specific keywords. The default YouTube search setting of "relevance" was used to replicate an average search attempt, and the first 50 results from each keyword search were reviewed and analyzed by two independent reviewers. Descriptive characteristics, Journal of the American Medical Association Score, modified DISCERN score, Video Power Index, and a novel scoring system for the management of AAAs, the AAA-Specific Score (AAASS), were used to record data. Inter-rater agreement was analyzed using intraclass correlation coefficient estimates and the Kruskal-Wallis test was used for intergroup comparisons. RESULTS: Fifty-one videos were included for analysis. The mean Journal of the American Medical Association Score, DISCERN, and AAASS values among videos were 1.74/4.00 (standard deviation [SD], 0.84), 2.37/5.00 (SD, 0.97), and 6.63/20.00 (SD, 3.23), respectively. Of all the included videos, 78% were educational in nature, 14% were patient testimonials, and 8% were news programs. Based on the AAASS, the majority of analyzed videos fell into the poor category (41%), followed next by the very poor (31%), moderately useful (25%), very useful (2%), and exceptional (0%) categories. Videos by nonphysicians were significantly more popular (P < .05) than vascular surgeon sources. CONCLUSIONS: Although variable in source and content, the completeness and reliability of information offered on YouTube for AAA diagnosis and treatment is poor. Patients watching YouTube for information on their AAA diagnosis are receiving an incomplete and perhaps misleading picture of available diagnostic and treatment options. Given that vascular surgeons are likely to be affected by unrealistic treatment expectations from patients accessing online materials regarding AAA, it is important to acknowledge the nature of content on these platforms.
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