The stroke 'Act FAST' campaign: remembered but not understood?
Dombrowski SU., White M., Mackintosh JE., Gellert P., Araujo-Soares V., Thomson RG., Rodgers H., Ford GA., Sniehotta FF.
BACKGROUND: The stroke awareness raising campaign 'Act FAST' (Face, Arms, Speech: Time to call Emergency Medical Services) has been rolled out in multiple waves in England, but impact on stroke recognition and response remains unclear. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to test whether providing knowledge of the FAST acronym through a standard Act FAST campaign leaflet increases accurate recognition and response in stroke-based scenario measures. METHODS: This is a population-based, cross-sectional survey of adults in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, sampled using the electoral register, with individuals randomized to receive a questionnaire and Act FAST leaflet (n = 2500) or a questionnaire only (n = 2500) in 2012. Campaign message retention, stroke recognition, and response measured through 16 scenario-based vignettes were assessed. Data were analyzed in 2013. RESULTS: Questionnaire return rate was 32.3% (n = 1615). No differences were found between the leaflet and no-leaflet groups in return rate or demographics. Participants who received a leaflet showed better campaign recall (75.7% vs. 68.2%, P = 0.003) and recalled more FAST mnemonic elements (66.1% vs. 45.3% elements named correctly, P < 0.001). However, there were no between-group differences for stroke recognition and response to stroke-based scenarios (P > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Despite greater levels of recall of specific 'Act FAST' elements among those receiving the Act FAST leaflet, there was no impact on stroke recognition and response measures.