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Effectiveness of public awareness campaigns on stroke signs

AAN 2021

The impact of FAST (Face-Arm-Speech-Time) public awareness campaigns on stroke signs recognition was assessed in Quebec, Canada. After multiple campaigns, FAST stroke signs identification improved by 26% overall. However, 1 in 3 people could still not identify FAST stroke signs and 1 in 5 people still would not activate emergency medical services.

Rapid community recognition of stroke signs is crucial to the timely activation of pre-hospital care. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada launched the bilingual English/French FAST/VITE campaign in 2014 (see Table). Using data from 4 repeated cross-sectional surveys within 2.5 years, the impact of public awareness campaigns was investigated. Participants (1: n=450; 2: n=450; 3: n=451; 4: n=1,100), were asked to name stroke signs. A public awareness campaign preceded the first 3 surveys, and 2 more campaigns preceded the fourth survey [1].

Table: FAST/VITE – Learn the signs of stroke

The identification of FAST stroke signs improved by 25% overall (OR 1.25; 95% CI 1.01–1.54; P=0.039). However, the proportion of respondents unable to identify any FAST stroke signs remained high after each survey (1: 37.7%; 2: 26.9%; 3: 30.4%; 4: 30.5%). Factors associated with worse FAST stroke sign identification were male sex, retirement, lower income, and lower education. Coincidental, people in these groups are also at higher risk of incident stroke.

  1. Brissette V, et al. Improved Identification of FAST Stroke Signs in the Population After Multiple Public Awareness Campaigns in Quebec, Canada. S30.003, AAN 2021 Virtual Congress, 17-22 April.

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