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The stroke 'Act FAST' campaign: Remembered but not understood?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephan Dombrowski, Professor Martin White, Joan Mackintosh, Dr Paul Gellert, Professor Vera Araujo-SoaresORCiD, Emeritus Professor Richard Thomson, Emerita Professor Helen Rodgers, Professor Gary Ford, Professor Falko Sniehotta



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


BackgroundThe stroke awareness raising campaign Act FAST' (Face, Arms, Speech: Time to call Emergency Medical Services) has been rolled out in multiple waves in England, but impact on stroke recognition and response remains unclear.PurposeThe purpose of this study was to test whether providing knowledge of the FAST acronym through a standard Act FAST campaign leaflet increases accurate recognition and response in stroke-based scenario measures.MethodsThis is a population-based, cross-sectional survey of adults in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, sampled using the electoral register, with individuals randomized to receive a questionnaire and Act FAST leaflet (n=2500) or a questionnaire only (n=2500) in 2012. Campaign message retention, stroke recognition, and response measured through 16 scenario-based vignettes were assessed. Data were analyzed in 2013.ResultsQuestionnaire return rate was 323% (n=1615). No differences were found between the leaflet and no-leaflet groups in return rate or demographics. Participants who received a leaflet showed better campaign recall (757% vs. 682%, P=0003) and recalled more FAST mnemonic elements (661% vs. 453% elements named correctly, P<0001). However, there were no between-group differences for stroke recognition and response to stroke-based scenarios (P>005).ConclusionsDespite greater levels of recall of specific Act FAST' elements among those receiving the Act FAST leaflet, there was no impact on stroke recognition and response measures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dombrowski SU, White M, Mackintosh JE, Gellert P, Araujo-Soares V, Thomson RG, Rodgers H, Ford GA, Sniehotta FF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Stroke

Year: 2015

Volume: 10

Issue: 3

Pages: 324-330

Print publication date: 01/04/2015

Online publication date: 05/08/2014

Acceptance date: 12/06/2014

Date deposited: 06/11/2015

ISSN (print): 1747-4930

ISSN (electronic): 1747-4949

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/ijs.12353


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Funder referenceFunder name
RP-PG-0606-1241UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)