BE FAST: Physicians advocate greater public awareness on World Stroke Day


On World Stroke Day 2022 (29 October), US physicians from the Get Ahead of Stroke campaign are urging the public to embrace the “simple truth” that strokes are emergencies—and they require calling emergency medical services (EMS) for immediate triage, transport and treatment.

Thousands of Americans have strokes each year, and they require timely care in order to prevent disability or worse, a press release from the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) states.

SNIS doctors have long flagged that ‘time is brain’, citing the fact that, the quicker a patient gets to appropriate care, the more brain cells are saved and the greater the chance for survival and limiting disability.

However, audience research shows that people often ignore stroke symptoms or drive themselves to the hospital, therefore missing vital in-transit assessment and triage by EMS personnel who coordinate with doctors and stroke care teams to ensure efficient transport, and the best course of treatment, the release adds.

“By knowing BE FAST, an acronym used to spot signs of stroke, you can save your life or the lives of others,” said SNIS president J Mocco (Mount Sinai, New York, USA). “If you notice any symptoms: loss of balance (B); loss of or blurry eyesight (E); face drooping (F); arm weakness (A); or speech difficulty (S), then it is time to call 911 (T). You may feel like you are overreacting, but you are not—stroke is an emergency, and delaying treatment can result in disability or death.”

In the past decade, new breakthroughs in stroke treatment have dramatically increased the chances that patients experiencing severe strokes not only survive a stroke but come through without major, long-term disabilities, according to the SNIS release.

Thrombectomy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a catheter guided by X-ray to remove the clot, has been proven effective in treating severe stroke, allowing patients to return to their lives with minimal recovery time. Specialised care teams at Level 1 stroke centres (also known as comprehensive stroke centres [CSCs]) can perform thrombectomies 24/7/365 in the USA.

“This World Stroke Day, we want people to know that strokes can happen to anyone, at any age,” Mocco added. “If you notice something is not right, call 911 to ensure treatment begins right away.”


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