Stroke – FAST

One day I will be blue lighted  with a blaring ambulance along the motorway, I feel we all have to and probably for good reasons be taken into Emergency settings for immediate treatment and tests. Imagine it though. Yes it is a nightmare. I do start to get fast heart rate even with the thought.

blue and silver stetoscope

Speech could be slurred, a hand or arm could be floppy, you simply can’t use the arm, sudden vision problems in one eye or confused suddenly – any of these can be a symptom of stroke. Things may happen for a few seconds or minutes and get better. The acronym FAST is advertised in UK to be aware of stroke. Facial drooping, arm weakness and speech slurring then time to get to emergency is important.

Whenever I see a patient of suspected stroke and I have to ring an ambulance for them, one can literally time things. How quickly a CT scan was done and  how quickly they got thrombolysis, which means if they had a clot in the brain it can be broken down and dissolved so that stroke can resolve. If I get the time then I will go in the hospital notes to see if they have had any investigations. A day or two later patient will be discharged with a care package at home and they get better soon.

Definitely not so straight forward for everybody. Major stroke and complications can happen in cases where patients have a bleed on the brain. Death can be a consequence. None of this is in our hands but if we can get somebody into emergency as quickly as possible then the best outcome can be expected. Lay people should also understand the importance of getting patients into hospital. Time is of the essence.

Read more on stroke and be ready to help somebody. Stroke is every bodies business.

10 thoughts on “Stroke – FAST

  1. I learned FAST from a friend in Nova Scotia. It just started being advertised in the US this year. A young friend who’s been deathly ill for most of the year was on home care when she recognized FAS(t)… fortunately, it was not a stroke but severe migraines.

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