The Impact of Stroke Public Awareness Campaigns Differs Between Sociodemographic Groups

Bastien Rioux, Vincent Brissette, Francine Forget Marin, Patrice Lindsay, Mark R. Keezer, Alexandre Y. Poppe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Prehospital delays are a major obstacle to timely reperfusion therapy in acute ischemic stroke. Stroke sign recognition, however, remains poor in the community. We present an analysis of repeated surveys to assess the impact of Face, Arm, Speech, Time (FAST) public awareness campaigns on stroke knowledge.

Four cross-sectional surveys were conducted between July 2016 and January 2019 in the province of Quebec, Canada (n = 2,451). Knowledge of FAST stroke signs (face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulties) was assessed with open-ended questions. A bilingual English/French FAST public awareness campaign preceded survey waves 1–3 and two campaigns preceded wave 4. We used multivariable ordinal regression models weighted for age and sex to assess FAST stroke sign knowledge.

We observed an overall significant improvement of 26% in FAST stroke sign knowledge between survey waves 1 and 4 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.26; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.55; p = 0.035). After the last campaign, however, 30.5% (95% CI: 27.5, 33.6) of people were still unable to name a single FAST sign. Factors associated with worse performance were male sex (OR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.86; p = 0.002) and retirement (OR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.35, 0.83; p = 0.005). People with lower household income and education had a tendency towards worse stroke sign
knowledge and were significantly less aware of the FAST campaigns.

Knowledge of FAST stroke signs in the general population improved after multiple public awareness campaigns, although it remained low overall. Future FAST campaigns should especially target men, retired people and individuals with a lower socioeconomic status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231–238
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Early online date20 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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