April 16 (UPI) -- For a doctor, making patients more knowledgeable about procedures can be a challenge due to the complex information involved in the process.
A new comic-style brochure, however, helped patients reduce stress by explaining cardiac catheterization, a procedure that inserts a stent to open a narrowed artery to increase blood flow.
"Inspired by the notion that 'a picture is worth more than a thousand words', we wanted to use graphical representations to help patients understand the procedural details provided as part of the informed consent procedure," Verena Stangle, a researcher from Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and study author, said in a news release. "What our pilot study showed was patients who received this comic-style felt better prepared for surgery."
The 15-page comic-style instructional booklet gave 71 percent of patients a better understanding of their surgery, according to findings published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
"A comic-style presentation enables the simultaneous visual and textual processing of complex information. This has been shown to enhance comprehension in different learner types," said Anna Brand, a researcher at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and study author.
When asked questions about the procedure, its risks and post-operative suggestions, patients who read the comic-style brochure got nearly 12 out of 13 questions correct -- compared to nine out of 13 for patients who didn't read the comic.
"For the first time, our study showed that comic-based medical information can be a highly effective addition to the medical consenting process," Brand said. "We want to use future research to test whether similar positive effects can be achieved in patients undergoing other medical procedures."