Conflict of interest: None declared.
What is stroke symptom knowledge?
Article first published online: 19 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. International Journal of Stroke © 2013 World Stroke Organization
International Journal of Stroke
Special Issue: Global Stroke Statistics Edition
Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 48–52, January 2014
How to Cite
Mosley, I., Nicol, M., Donnan, G., Thrift, A. G. and Dewey, H. M. (2014), What is stroke symptom knowledge?. International Journal of Stroke, 9: 48–52. doi: 10.1111/ijs.12024
Funding: This study was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ‘Centre of Clinical Research Excellence (Neurosciences)’, Australia. A. G. T. was supported by a fellowship from the NHMRC (438700).
- Issue published online: 19 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 2013
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Grant Number: 438700
- public awareness;
- response to symptoms;
- stroke recognition;
- stroke symptoms
No commonly agreed definition exists for ‘stroke symptom knowledge’ among members of the general public. Recalling at least one correct stroke symptom has been used in the past. However, this criterion was not associated with rapid presentation to hospital. Rapid presentation is vital in order to provide effective acute stroke treatment.
Aims and/or hypothesis
We sought to identify a base level of community stroke symptom knowledge associated with stroke recognition when symptoms occur, an immediate ambulance call, and ‘stroke recognition and immediately calling an ambulance’ as a single sequence of events.
For six-months in 2004–2005, we identified all patients with stroke living in a defined region of Melbourne and who were transported by ambulance to one of the three hospitals. The person who called the ambulance (caller) was interviewed.
One hundred ninety-eight patients were identified and 150 callers interviewed. Symptoms reported most frequently were limb weakness (67%), speech problems (57%), and facial weakness (24%). Reporting at least two of the symptoms – facial weakness, limb weakness, or speech problems (62% of callers) – was associated with stroke recognition (P = 0·004), immediately calling an ambulance (P = 0·065), and both ‘stroke recognition and immediately calling an ambulance’ (P = 0·053).
Knowing at least two of the symptoms – facial weakness, limb weakness, and speech problems – appears to be an appropriate indicator of stroke symptom knowledge as it is associated with stroke recognition and appropriate action. Recognizing stroke symptoms and immediately calling an ambulance increase the potential to reduce prehospital time delays and improve eligibility of acute stroke patients for rapid treatment.