Stroke awareness ‘improving’ in Vic

21 March 2012

The foundation’s face, arms, speech, time (FAST) campaign teaches people to notice if a person’s mouth and face have drooped, check if they can lift both arms, notice slurred speech, and call triple-zero immediately when any such symptoms are evident.

Three in four adults can name two symptoms of stroke, compared with 50 per cent in 2007 when the campaign began, foundation CEO Erin Lalor said on Wednesday as a 2011 survey of Victorians was released.

Only a handful of the 120 participants surveyed in 2011 failed to name any symptoms of a stroke – the interruption of blood flow to the brain due to a blockage, clot, haemorrhage or burst blood vessel – compared with one in 10 in the 2007 survey, she said.

Many people, however, still do not call an ambulance fast enough when a stroke occurs, with a foundation audit showing 64 per cent of Victorian stroke patients arrived at hospital outside the critical three-hour window of opportunity to receive the most effective drug treatment in 2011.

Dr Lalor said the only appropriate response to suspected stroke was to call triple-zero immediately.

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