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 (2015) The stroke ‘Act FAST’ campaign: Remembered but not understood?. International Journal of Stroke, 10 (3), pp. 324-330.

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.

acute stroke therapy; epidemiology; intervention; prevention; stroke; thrombolysis

International Journal of Stroke: Volume 10, Issue 3

Publication date30/04/2015
Publication date online05/08/2014
Date accepted by journal12/06/2014

People (1)


Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Psychology