Stroke: Time Equals Brain

I often reflect on my years spent in the emergency room, and if I had a nickel for every time I uttered the phrase, “I wished you came sooner,” my pockets would be considerably heavier. This sentiment holds especially true when dealing with acute emergencies like strokes. The acronym FAST, which has been widely disseminated throughout the medical literature, serves as a crucial tool in identifying symptoms of a neurological emergency that demand immediate attention and a call to 911.

Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and a keen eye on Time are the key components of FAST. Knowing when the symptoms started is critical to emergency management. Organizations such as the National Stroke Association and the American Heart Association have adopted FAST to educate the public on recognizing stroke symptoms. Originating in the United Kingdom back in 1998, FAST is a reminder that when it comes to strokes, it’s imperative to dial 911 rather than attempting to drive to the hospital. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers are not only skilled in stroke care, but can also notify the emergency room of your impending arrival, mobilizing a team to care for you or your loved one.

 In the realm of stroke treatment, time is unequivocally synonymous with brain preservation…the earlier you are evaluated the better the outcome.