When Diagnosing Strokes It's Essential to "BE FAST": Updated Acronym Can Provide Better Identification

October 25, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


An expanded version of a common acronym used as a mnemonic for recognizing stroke symptoms can make it possible to identify 95% of strokes, according to research from Penn State University. The new steps add balance loss and changes in eyesight as signs to check for, updating the old acronym of FAST to BE FAST. The updated acronym says that when symptoms include balance loss; eyesight changes; face drooping; arm weakness; or speech difficulty, it is time to call 911. The FAST acronym was picking up only the most common types of ischemic stroke, the authors said. Balance and eyesight are managed in the back part of the brain, so by adding the first two letters of the acronym, warning signs of strokes occurring in other brain regions can also be identified.

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