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Trust backs FAST campaign

Published: 13/03/2012

Stroke consultants at Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are backing the new national stroke campaign that was launched at the end of February.

Dr Otaiku, stroke lead for the trust commented,

“Most people affected by a stroke are over 65 but a stroke can affect anyone of any age so it’s essential we all know what to do if someone is having a stroke and how we can prevent one. The Act FAST on stroke campaign proved instrumental in helping people recognize the signs of a stroke and get the appropriate help fast.”

The Act FAST on stroke campaign has been given a new burst to encourage people to be more aware of the first signs of a stroke. Originally launched in February 2009 with hard-hitting imagery to highlight the visible signs of stroke, the Act FAST campaign is designed to inform the public about FASTFace, Arm, Speech, and Time to call 999. FAST is a simple test to help people to recognise the signs of stroke and understand the importance of emergency treatment. The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability.

As with previous bursts, the campaign aims to:

Re-launching the Act FAST campaign is expected to help more people recognise the signs of stroke so that they can help family, friends and others should a stroke occur.

The campaign asks the public to remember the following:

Face – Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
Arms – Can they raise both arms and keep them there?
Speech – Is their speech slurred?
Time – Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in England each year, accounting for 10% of deaths (more than 45,000). It kills more women than breast cancer. Being seen early after the onset is crucial to the effectiveness of stroke treatments.

Last year 497 people were admitted to Warrington Hospital to be treated for a stroke and 141 for a TIA (transient ischaemic attack). A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) causes symptoms similar to a stroke. Some people call a TIA a mini-stroke. With a TIA, the symptoms go completely within 24 hours (whilst with a stroke, the symptoms usually longer lasting, more than 24 hours). The most common cause is a tiny blood clot in a blood vessel in the brain.

The acute Stroke Unit at Warrington Hospital works to meet the growing need for stroke care and provide some of the best possible care and rehabilitation in the region but prevention still remains better than the cure.

In July 2011, the trust extended its thrombolysis service to 12 hours at Warrington Hospital, from 8.00am – 8.00pm, Monday-Sunday. After 8.00pm patients are now transferred to Whiston Hospital, rather than Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool. The thrombolysis treatment is only appropriate for a small number of stroke patients and needs to be administered quickly, hence the importance of developing the service locally as a partnership between Warrington and Whiston so that patients do not have to travel to Liverpool.

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