Objective: This study examined the knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors among the general public, including what they would do if they were to develop such symptoms. Design, setting and participants: Population study of randomly selected members of the general public in Adelaide, South Australia. A simple survey assessed knowledge of stroke warning signs and gave four options for management. The survey was conducted on three separate occasions: before, immediately after and 3 months after the National Stroke Foundation's National Stroke Week in 2009. Main outcome measures: The outcome measures were the public perception of risk factors and warning signs of stroke and what the members of the public would do if presented with a range of warning signs. They were also asked about their knowledge of the Face, Arms, Speech, Time (FAST) test. Results: The three surveys were completed by 251 members of the public. Hypertension and smoking were recognised as risk factors for stroke by 71% and 53% of respondents respectively. Before National Stroke Week, slurred speech was identified by 51% and both slurred speech and upper limb sensory loss was identified by 62% as warning signs to provoke presentation to an emergency department (ED). Amaurosis, upper limb sensory loss, upper limb numbness and upper limb weakness were correctly identified individually as warning signs to attend an ED by fewer than one-third of respondents. There was no significant difference in the survey results following National Stroke Week. Conclusions: Public awareness of the symptoms of stroke, and what to do about them, is limited. There was little improvement after the national week-long awareness campaign. The lack of public awareness about stroke warning signs must be addressed to reduce mortality and morbidity from stroke.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||MJA Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Jul 2011|