BE FAST for Stroke

If you suspect a stroke, B-E F-A-S-T

In many cases, patients who arrive at the Emergency Department within twenty-four hours of their initial symptoms tend to be significantly healthier and less disabled after a stroke than those whose care was delayed.

  • If an ischemic stroke takes place (caused when a clot blocks blood flow to the brain), getting to a hospital as soon as possible enables medical teams to dissolve the clot through a number of procedures.
  • With hemorrhagic stroke (caused when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures), the faster the individual can receive surgery to prevent re-bleeding, the less likely the chance of serious disability or death.

This points to a need for public awareness about BE FAST, an acronym for things to look for in a suspected stroke victim:

B – Balance: Sudden dizziness or loss of balance or coordination

E – Eyes: Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

F - Face: Does the face droop on one side when the person smiles? 

A - Arm: After raising both arms, does one of the arms drift downwards? 

S - Speech: After repeating a simple phrase, does the person's speech sound slurred or strange? 

T - Time: If any or all of the above are observed call 911.

The National Stroke Association, the American Stroke Association and the CDC are all in agreement that many lives could be saved and many disabilities lessened if this simple but critical reminder is followed.

If you are having symptoms of a stroke, call 911 right away. Remember, fast, specialized care is crucial, so ask to be taken to Riverside.

Riverside offers the Peninsula’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center, as well as three of the region’s certified Primary Stroke Centers

Riverside Regional Medical Center is the peninsula’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center, offering a level of care to treat the most severe stroke cases. Capabilities at RRMC also include a highly specialized neuro-interventional and surgical teams that offer the kind of advanced treatment that can stop a stroke in progress with minimally invasive procedures carried out entirely in the circulatory system.

Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, and Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital are designated by DNV as Primary Stroke Centers. This designation recognizes the presence of staff, technology and protocols needed to effectively diagnose and treat the stroke cases.

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