Background: Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. Proper treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease is essential and can be challenged by non-disclosed use of complementary or alternative treatments. The objective of this study was to assess which demographics were associated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and if education affects the use of CAM.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a stratified random sample of residents of Southeastern Georgia. Sampling was stratified by urban/rural residence in order to reach sufficient rural residents. Participants that indicated they had been diagnosed with hypertension or heart disease were included in this analysis. Participants also self-reported if they used CAM, their reasons for CAM use, frequency of CAM use, source of knowledge and level of satisfaction with CAM.

Results: Among the 50 respondents with cardiovascular disease, 17 (34%) reported using CAM. The most commonly used type of CAM was vitamins and minerals (used by 26% or participants) followed by massage (19%) and relaxation/breathing (17%). CAM use was not associated with race, education, income, rural residence, smoking or quality of life, controlling for age and sex.

Conclusions: Although there were no associations of socio-demographic characteristics and CAM use, this study highlights the prevalence of CAM use among individuals with heart disease and types of CAM frequently used. These findings should drive future, larger studies to further understand treatment decisions of rural patients with cardiovascular disease.

Keywords: Alternative medicine, homeopathy, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, hypertension

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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