Monday, June 25, 2018

Diagnostic Tool to Determine Indicators of Strokes

I'm not a doctor (and I don't play one on TV) so don't take what I say as the "know all, end all".  If you're having medical problems, see someone who's properly licensed.  Now that that's out of the way...

As most of us know, time is of the essence when it comes to a stroke.  It is a medical emergency and needs to be treated as early as possible.

I've worked as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher for 13 years and often give callers assessments to determine if the case is a possible stroke.  Sometimes people hesitate or freak out, so they're not sure what exactly is going on. 

Here is a Stroke Diagnostic Tool that may be helpful in determining evidence of stroke:

1. Ask the patient to smile.

Was the smile equal on both sides of the mouth?
Normal smile - 0
Slight difference in smile - 1
Only one side of mouth or face shows a smile - 3

2.  Ask the patient to raise both arms above their head.

Was the patient able to do so?
Both arms raised equally - 0
One arm higher than the other - 1
Only one arm raised - 3

3.  Ask the patient to say, "The early bird catches the worm."

Was the patient able to repeat it correctly?
Said correctly - 0
Slurred speech - 3
Garbled or not understandable speech - 3

Add up the scores that are assigned to each answer.
>3 = clear evidence of stroke
2 = strong evidence of stroke
1 = partial evidence of stroke

Using this tool and observing other symptoms such as sudden, severe headache with no known cause and sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes will help determine if this is quite probably a stroke.  Whatever the case may be, be sure to seek immediate professional help if you believe you or a loved one are stroking out.

Do you know anyone who's had a stroke?


Suburban prep said...

Almost 7 yrs ago my father had a stroke. He had a headache. In all the years I knew my father I never really knew him to have a headache. A year and a half earlier he had had a heart attack, while out of the country. My mother and I took him to the doctor because he did not want to go to the hospital. The doctor was not his regular doctor. Lets just say she diagnosed him incorrectly. The next morning my brother found him on the floor. We were fortunate because my father did "recover" from the stroke.
He passed last October though of skin cancer that he had had on and off for over 30 yrs that had metastasized.

An Apel a Day said...

My Dad's come pretty close. He had an infection when he was a kid that never got treated. As an adult he got atrial heart fib. It's pretty common, but he has it to the extreme! His heart races so much that the hospital can't get into control for a few days. He's had surgery twice He once asked the doctor if he could go off his meds because there are so many side effects? He said, "You would have stroked out many times over again if you weren't on meds."

A. B. said...

Thank you ~so~ much for posting this.
I'm familiar with FAST (Face - Arms - Speech - Time ; Link: ) , but I really like what you've presented here-- especially when used along with FAST. I especially like the use of the rating scale.
My late paternal grandfather suffered a stroke, but I do not know very much about this as I was somewhat young. I do know that he made a pretty good recovery.
I spend a lot of time with my father, and I'm trying to refresh my knowledge of basic first aid, CPR, and so on. Thanks again for posting this... I hadn't been expecting it to be so affecting to me, in that it's hitting home and inspiring me to action. Thanks again.
--Ann (