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Think FAST during National Stroke Awareness Month

  • May 1, 2013
  • Number of views: 5614

When it comes to stroke, minutes matter. The brain is at risk from the moment the first symptoms strike, and every second that passes reduces the likelihood of a full recovery.

During National Stroke Awareness Month, physicians and patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s certified Primary Stroke Center are promoting stroke education in the St. Louis community.

 “Time is brain,” says Peter Panagos, MD, a Washington University emergency medicine physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “The shorter the time between symptoms and treatment, the more we can minimize the damage to the brain.

“We teach a simple device that helps people recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke,” Dr. Panagos says. “Stroke treatment is time-critical, so it’s important that people know to act fast.”

F – Face. Smile! Does one side of the face droop?

A – Arms. Raise both arms. Does one start to fall, even though you try to keep it up?

S – Speech. Speak a few sentences. Are you slurring your words?

T – Time. IMMEDIATELY call 9-1-1 and ask responders to take you to a stroke center.

FAST teaches the common symptoms of stroke and the most important first step to treatment. “People have gotten very good about thinking ‘heart attack’ when they have chest pain, and they seek the appropriate treatment,” Dr. Panagos says.  “We want FAST to get people thinking about stroke.”

Physicians and patients will be available throughout the month to enhance your Stroke Awareness Month coverage. For more information about stroke symptoms and stroke treatment, click here.


Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,315 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. The hospital has a 1,763 member medical staff, with many recognized as "Best Doctors in America." Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 13 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is also consistently ranked as one of America’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

Becky Cowin
[email protected]

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