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B.E. F.A.S.T

June 21, 2019

An important thing to recognize are the signs and symptoms of stroke. It’s critical to know the signs and symptoms of stroke because if you can’t recognize it, you’re not going to get someone into the hospital. And time is brain. And getting someone into the hospital as soon as possible is crucial. A nice acronym to remember for the signs and symptoms of stroke, which can be a little complex, is something called B.E.F.A.S.T. And what does B.E.F.A.S.T. stand for? Balance. Eyes. So first of all, you look at someone’s balance. Are they able to walk a straight line eyes? Do they have any vision problems? Sudden vision loss in one eye or both eyes? F fast. F look at their face. Smile is their face symmetric and especially you’re looking at, interestingly with a stroke, the stroke involves the lower half of the face generally. Okay, so we’re not looking at the eyebrows and the eye movements, but we’re looking at the lower half of the face. And so we asked him to smile. And you’re looking at these folds on either side right here are the dimples. Nice and symmetric. If you’re still not convinced, you can sometimes even count the teeth across to see how symmetric it is. But usually it’s pretty obvious. Arm. Ask someone to lift out their arms straight out. And ideally what you’d do is have them hold their palms up and you’re looking for weakness. If they’re bringing their arm down or bring their arm across like this, that’s a sign of a stroke. And then speech, have them repeat a sentence. Can they say it clearly? Are they able to repeat the sentence? And then if they can’t do any of those things you want to look at the time. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough. Time is critical. Time is brain. And the reason is that the stroke treatments that we have available in the hospital, the only FDA approved treatments are time sensitive. Intravenous clot-buster is only available within the first three hours after a stroke. And sometimes we’ll give it longer, but the longer we wait, the less effective it is. So in recap, the signs and symptoms of a stroke can be nicely encapsulated in the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T. Balance, eyes, face, arm, speech. Look at the time.

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