Assessing the credibility of the "YouTube approach" to health information on acute myocardial infarction

Clin Cardiol. 2012 May;35(5):281-5. doi: 10.1002/clc.21981. Epub 2012 Apr 6.


Background: This study was designed to assess the credibility of YouTube video information on acute myocardial infarction by exploring the relationship between accuracy of information on the topic, source of expertise, and perceived credibility of the message.

Hypothesis: Health information videos in YouTube possess a diverse mix of information and can easily mislead online information seekers.

Methods: The Web site was queried for the following search terms: "acute myocardial infarction," "heart attack," "acute coronary syndrome," and "ST-elevation myocardial infarction." The resulting videos were categorized according to the source of the video and content was analyzed for discussion of different aspects of disease, ranging from pathophysiology to treatment.

Results: Only 6% of videos touched upon all aspects of acute myocardial infarction. These were mostly from professional societies, were of long duration, and were among the least viewed. Videos that described personal experiences were "liked" or "disliked" most and had the majority of comments. Only 17% of the videos discussed the preventive aspects of the disease and stressed weight-loss and exercise programs. Videos that stressed prevention were advertisements for specific weight-loss programs (45%) and diet pills (30%). Very few videos stressed other risk factors. A large number of videos were irrelevant.

Conclusions: YouTube is a popular platform across the globe for sharing video information, including videos related to health and disease. However, the information on this platform is not regulated and can easily mislead those seeking it. We suggest that authoritative videos should come from reputable sources such as professional societies and/or academic institutions and should provide unbiased and accurate information on all aspects of diseases like acute myocardial infarction.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Health Information / standards*
  • Humans
  • Internet / standards
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Webcasts as Topic / standards*