Developing a patient decision aid for Achilles tendon rupture management: a mixed-methods study

Jan F L Gan, Marnee J McKay, Caitlin M P Jones, Ian A Harris, Kirsten McCaffery, Rachel Thompson, Tammy C Hoffmann, Sam Adie, Christopher G Maher, Joshua R Zadro

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OBJECTIVE: To develop and user-test a patient decision aid portraying the benefits and harms of non-surgical management and surgery for Achilles tendon ruptures.

DESIGN: Mixed methods.

SETTING: A draft decision aid was developed using guidance from a multidisciplinary steering group and existing patient decision aids. Participants were recruited through social media.

PARTICIPANTS: People who have previously sustained an Achilles tendon rupture and health professionals who manage these patients.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were used to gather feedback on the decision aid from health professionals and patients who had previously suffered an Achilles tendon rupture. The feedback was used to redraft the decision aid and assess acceptability. An iterative cycle of interviews, redrafting according to feedback and further interviews was used. Interviews were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Questionnaire data were analysed descriptively.

RESULTS: We interviewed 18 health professionals (13 physiotherapists, 3 orthopaedic surgeons, 1 chiropractor, 1 sports medicine physician) and 15 patients who had suffered an Achilles tendon rupture (median time since rupture was 12 months). Most health professionals and patients rated the aid's acceptability as good-excellent. Interviews showcased agreement among health professionals and patients on most aspects of the decision aid: introduction, treatment options, comparing benefits and harms, questions to ask health professionals and formatting. However, health professionals had differing views on details about Achilles tendon retraction distance, factors that modify the risk of harms, treatment protocols and evidence on benefits and harms.

CONCLUSION: Our patient decision aid is an acceptable tool to both patients and health professionals, and our study highlights the views of key stakeholders on important information to consider when developing a patient decision aid for Achilles tendon rupture management. A randomised controlled trial evaluating the impact of this tool on the decision-making of people considering Achilles tendon surgery is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere072553
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023


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