Doctor speaking to patient on reducing afib stroke risks.

How acting F.A.S.T. could save a stroke victim’s life


September 13, 2015

Confusion? Slurred speech? Numbness? Time matters in stroke treatment.

Stroke is responsible for 5 percent of Tennessee deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association. But the number of lives this dangerous condition affects is so much higher.

With stroke, time is truly of the essence. Patients who receive one key treatment, the clot-busting drug t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator), are at least 55 percent more likely to leave the hospital after three months with little to no disability, according to the Stroke Awareness Foundation. The catch: t-PA must be administered within three hours of the start of the stroke, and the American Stroke Association estimates only 3 percent to 5 percent of stroke patients reach the hospital within that time frame.

Being prepared could save lives. Know the signs of stroke using the F.A.S.T. acronym.

  • Face: Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arm: Is one arm or leg weak or numb?
  • Speech: Is speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

If you or someone you know exhibits these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Learn more medical advances in stroke care at the Vanderbilt Stroke Center, which tackles the most complex stroke cases in the South