By Matthew E. Fink, MD

Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College; Neurologist-in-Chief, New York Presbyterian Hospital

Dr. Fink reports he is a retained consultant for Procter & Gamble and Pfizer.

SOURCE: Skolarus LE, Zimmerman MA, Bailey S, et al. Stroke ready intervention: Community engagement to decrease prehospital delay. J Am Heart Assoc 2016;5:e003331 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.003331.

Acute stroke treatments have altered the prognosis of acute ischemic stroke dramatically, if administered within an appropriate time window. However, these treatments are seriously underused because of delay in hospital presentation. These delays are evident particularly in minority populations, especially in the African-American community. The authors initiated a community education program, aimed at altering health behaviors to increase stroke preparedness among African-American youth and adults in Flint, MI. Subjects observed one-minute video vignettes that taught symptom recognition and then were instructed to make 911 calls when vignettes indicated an acute stroke. Non-stroke vignettes recommended non-urgent and non-emergency responses to the participants. One hundred one participants completed the baseline assessments, and 68 completed a delayed post-test. Compared to baseline, an appropriate response to suspected stroke was improved in the post-testing group, indicating improved stroke recognition and appropriate emergency response. Community education programs are essential in our efforts to improve our overall success in treating acute ischemic stroke.