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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Stroke

Publication Date





324 - 330


: acute stroke therapy, epidemiology, intervention, prevention, stroke, thrombolysis, Adult, Aged, Awareness, Community Health Planning, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Health Education, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Male, Mass Media, Middle Aged, Risk Factors, Stroke, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom, Young Adult