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Keywords:

  • cerebrovascular disease;
  • educational campaign;
  • risk factors;
  • stroke;
  • stroke awareness;
  • stroke knowledge

Background

Public stroke awareness and knowledge may be supportive for stroke prevention and emergency care-seeking behavior after the acute event, which is highly important for early treatment onset.

Aims

In an urban population in Northern Germany (Hannover), a six-month stroke educational campaign was conducted. We expected an increase in stroke knowledge and awareness thereafter.

Methods

Computer-assisted telephone interviews were randomly conducted among 1004 representative participants before and 1010 immediately after the educational multimedia campaign. The computer-assisted telephone interviews focused on questions about stroke knowledge and interventions remembered.

Results

Knowledge of stroke risk factors increased during the campaign for overweight, physical inactivity, old age, and stroke in family (P < 0·05). The knowledge of stroke warning signs was low, although it significantly increased during the campaign (P < 0·001) as paresis/weakness (46%) and speech problems (31%) were most frequently named. The majority of respondents indicated that the first action after suffering from stroke should be calling emergency care (74% before vs. 84% after campaign, P < 0·001).

Conclusions

Our data indicate that stroke knowledge and awareness, which could provide earlier presentation to the emergency unit for timely treatment onset, are still low in urban Northern Germany but may decisively be increased by educational campaigns.