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Educational campaign on stroke in an urban population in Northern Germany: influence on public stroke awareness and knowledge


  • Conflict of interest: H. W., A. S., F. H., E. S., R. L., H. A. A., A. F., K. L., U. W., R. D. report no conflicts of interest. B. H. is employee of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH and Co. KG. The study was funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG.

Correspondence: Hans Worthmann*, Hannover Medical School, Department of Neurology, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, Hannover 30623, Germany.




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.


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.


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.


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).


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.