Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and their caregivers may look for information on their disease on the internet. However, the authenticity and quality of PAH-related websites are unknown. To evaluate the quality, reliability, and accuracy of PAH-related information on websites, Researchers looked up “pulmonary arterial hypertension” on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. They screened the first 200 results from each search engine. The correctness of the content was evaluated using 39 disease-relevant issues from international PAH guidelines.

The majority of the eligible sites were hosted in North America (50% scientific organizations, 20% foundation/advocacy organizations, 14% industry/for-profit, 12% personal commentary/blogs, and 4% news, and media sites). Since they updated the website, the average time was 1.2 years (IQR 0.4-2.6). The website’s readability was at the high school or college level (Flesh Reading Ease score 39.9 ± 15.2, reading grade 11.9±2.7), which is more difficult than the American Medical Association’s guideline that patient medical information is written at the 5th-6th grade level. Only 23% were certified by the Health on the Net Code of Conduct (HONcode) for ethical healthcare information presentation. DISCERN ratings were higher on foundation/advocacy organization sites than on personal commentary/blog sites, and content scores were higher on foundation/advocacy organization sites than on industry/for-profit sites.