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    Patients with acute stroke often do not seek immediate medical help, which is assumed to be driven by lack of knowledge of stroke symptoms. We explored the process of help seeking behavior in patients with acute stroke, evaluating knowledge about stroke symptoms, socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, and onset-to-alarm time (OAT). In a sub-study of the Preventive Antibiotics in Stroke Study (PASS), 161 acute stroke patients were prospectively included in 3 Dutch hospitals. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to assess knowledge, recognition and interpretation of stroke symptoms. With in-depth interviews, response actions and reasons were explored. OAT was recorded and associations with socio-demographic, clinical parameters were assessed. Knowledge about stroke symptoms does not always result in correct recognition of own stroke symptoms, neither into correct interpretation of the situation and subsequent action. In our study population of 161 patients with acute stroke, median OAT was 30 min (interquartile range [IQR] 10-150 min). Recognition of one-sided weakness and/or sensory loss (p = 0.046) and adequate interpretation of the stroke situation (p = 0.003), stroke at daytime (p = 0.002), severe stroke (p = 0.003), calling the emergency telephone number (p = 0.004), and transport by ambulance (p = 0.040) were associated with shorter OAT. Help seeking behavior after acute stroke is a complex process. A shorter OAT after stroke is associated with correct recognition of one-sided weakness and/or sensory loss, adequate interpretation of the stroke situation by the patient and stroke characteristics and logistics of stroke care, but not by knowledge of stroke symptoms.


    E Zock, H Kerkhoff, R P Kleyweg, T B V van Bavel-Ta, S Scott, N D Kruyt, P J Nederkoorn, D van de Beek. Help seeking behavior and onset-to-alarm time in patients with acute stroke: sub-study of the preventive antibiotics in stroke study. BMC neurology. 2016 Nov 25;16(1):241

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    PMID: 27884126

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