Test to determine a whether a stroke is happening-Truth!

A Simple Test to Determine Whether a Person is Having a StrokeTruth!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor says that the American Stroke Associations suggests a simple three question test to give to someone who may be experiencing the symptoms of a stroke.

The Truth:

According to the website of the American Stroke Association (ASA) this eRumor is true.  The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association.

In an article published in February of 2003, the ASA says that a 60-second test can help determine whether someone may be experiencing a stroke.  The three question test has been used by health care professionals as an initial way of determining whether someone may be experiencing a stroke.  But a research project by North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C. looked into the question of whether non-medical professionals could administer the short test and correctly identify the symptoms of a possible stroke.  The conclusions was yes, that bystanders could be helpful in determining whether a person is experiencing a stroke.  One of the reasons they looked into it was to see whether bystanders could be helpful to a 9-1-1 dispatcher in helping narrow down what is happening to a potential patient.

The three questions given to the suspected stroke sufferers were:

Can you raise your arms and keep them up?
Can you smile?
Can you repeat a simple sentence?

The study found that when non-medical volunteers were asked by a telephone dispatcher to administer the test, they correctly identified the symptoms 96 percent of the time…especially the raising of the arms and the speaking of a simple sentence.  They were less effective in evaluating whether there was facial weakness in a smile, probably because of not knowing what the person’s normal smile looked like.  Doctors caution that this does not mean that citizens should try to diagnose stroke symptoms themselves.
This study focused on citizens who were being given instruction over the telephone by emergency dispatchers.

Any sign of weakness in the face, slurred speech, or weakness or numbness in the limbs should be evaluated by medical professionals immediately.

If stroke victims are given proper help within 3 hours of the stroke, the ability to recover is greatly increased.

CLICK HERE for more information posted on the the American Stroke Association website.

updated 02/02/10