Public Release: 

Many stroke patients experience delays in seeking and receiving care

Wiley

A new study reveals that many patients are not aware that they are having a stroke when they are experiencing symptoms.

The study included 150 patients with a confirmed transient ischaemic attack or minor stroke who presented to a clinic in England during a 5-month interval in 2014. Overall 92 (61.3 per cent) of the patients had a delay in presenting to medical services. Eighty-eight patients (58.7 per cent) did not think they were having a stroke and 54 (36.0 per cent) were unaware of a public campaign that was launched in the UK in 2009 to raise awareness of stroke symptoms and highlight the importance of urgent medical care. The campaign's acronym FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) includes the common presenting features of weakness and dysphasia.

Importantly, nearly one-third of patients in this study presented with eye symptoms. Therefore, inclusion of eye symptoms and reaffirmation of the need to react might avoid unnecessary delays. "FASTER--Face, Arm, Speech, Time, Eyes, React--may be a better acronym for the public campaign," said Prof. Ashok Handa, senior author of the British Journal of Surgery study.

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