Pelvic vein embolization: an assessment of the readability and quality of online information for patients

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Introduction: Pelvic congestion syndrome is a controversial topic. Pelvic vein embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome. We aimed to assess the quality of information available on the Internet and determine how accessible information provided by the main IR societies was to patients. Materials and methods: The most commonly used term relating to pelvic vein embolization was searched across the five most-used English language search engines, with the first 25 web pages returned by each engine included for analysis. Duplicate web pages, nontext content and web pages behind paywalls were excluded. Web pages were analyzed for quality and readability using validated tools: DISCERN score, JAMA Benchmark Criteria, HONcode Certification, Flesch Reading Ease Score, Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level, and Gunning–Fog Index. Results: The most common applicable term was “Pelvic Vein Embolization”. Mean DISCERN quality of information provided by websites is “fair”. Flesh–Kincaid readability tests and Gunning–Fog Index demonstrated an average “college level” of reading ease. HON code certification was demonstrated in less than one third of web pages. Professional societies and scientific journals demonstrated the highest average JAMA and DISCERN scores, while for-profit organizations and healthcare providers demonstrated the lowest. Only information from 1 of 3 interventional societies was included in the first 25 search engine pages. Conclusion: The quality of information available online to patients is “fair” and outside of scientific journals the majority of web pages do not meet the JAMA benchmark criteria. These findings call for the production of high-quality and comprehensible content regarding interventional radiology, where physicians can reliably direct their patients for information.




Lee, R. J., O’Neill, D. C., Brassil, M., Alderson, J., & Lee, M. J. (2020). Pelvic vein embolization: an assessment of the readability and quality of online information for patients. CVIR Endovascular, 3(1).

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