American College of Cardiology

American College of Cardiology

Source:

Siva NK, et al. Abstract 1355-058. Presented at: American College of Cardiology Scientific Session; April 2-4, 2022; Washington, D.C. (hybrid meeting).


Disclosures: Chatterjee and Siva report no relevant financial disclosures.

April 04, 2022
2 min read
Save

TikTok videos offer conflicting advice on high blood pressure

Source:

Siva NK, et al. Abstract 1355-058. Presented at: American College of Cardiology Scientific Session; April 2-4, 2022; Washington, D.C. (hybrid meeting).


Disclosures: Chatterjee and Siva report no relevant financial disclosures.

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

WASHINGTON — Most hypertension-related information available on the social media platform TikTok is not presented by health care professionals and often contains recommendations not backed by scientific evidence, researchers reported.

Arka Chatterjee

“Social media content is not reflective of actual medical advice and patients should seek medical opinion before adopting any methods or practices and altering their treatment plan,” Arka Chatterjee, MD, FACC, FSCAI, associate professor of medicine and associate director of the structural heart program at Banner University Medical Center in Tuscon, Arizona, told Healio. “Physicians and other medical professionals need to embrace social media and enhance their presence so actual medical content can be built up in this realm.”

smartphone_235931235
Source: Adobe Stock

Chatterjee and colleagues identified the two most popular hashtags related to hypertension on TikTok — #highbloodpressure, with 36 million views, and #hypertension, with 22.4 million views — and analyzed the top 100 videos associated with each of those hashtags on Oct. 11, 2021. Out of 200 videos, 91 were chosen based on inclusion/exclusion criteria. Researchers were able to use each creator's TikTok profile to identify videos created by an individual with a medical background. Additional searches were performed if the creator's background was unclear.

The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.

Of 91 videos analyzed, 47% were presented by health care professionals and only 5% were presented by cardiologists. More health care workers posted using the #hypertension hashtag (64%) vs. the #highbloodpressure hashtag (38%).

Nanda Siva

“A lot of the information in these videos didn’t have any explicit source mentioned in the video, so viewers might not know if it’s coming from a credible source,” Nanda Siva, a third-year medical student at West Virginia University School of Medicine, said in an ACC press release. “Most of the people who were posting these kinds of videos were not health care providers, and the number of cardiologists was small.”

The researchers identified 89% of videos as educational, 12% as patient experience/opinion, and 14% as self-promotion/advertisement. Medical treatments were mentioned in 14% of videos, but 42% discussed alternative medicine approaches such as herbal supplements, acupuncture or massage techniques that have not been shown to improve CV outcomes in recent large studies.

As an example, Siva said that one of the top-ranking videos instructed viewers to rub behind their ear 36 times daily to stabilize BP.

“It’s easy for individuals to feed on a patient’s desire for an easier fix to their problem or their desire to not use medications,” Siva said in the release. “If videos are being made about proven lifestyle changes, or the importance of medication compliance, that is not what’s making it into the top 100s on TikTok. That is not what’s being shared and being seen.”

Chatterjee said the findings underscore the growing importance of social media content and recognition that more patients derive their opinions or practices from social media content.

“In our limited experience, we typically find social media content not to be based on fair or strong assessment of existing medical literature,” Chatterjee told Healio. “More research is needed on whether there can be a process for verification of medical information before posting on major social media outlets or quantify changing sources of medical information for patients.”