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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Every Minute Matters

With stroke, early recognition of symptoms and rapid response may mean the difference between life, death, and lifelong disability.

Acting FAST

The National Stroke Association’s acronym FAST can help you quickly determine whether someone is having a stroke:

  • F (Face): Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
  • A (Arms): Ask them to raise both of their arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S (Speech): Ask them to repeat a simple phrase (such as “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”) Is their speech slurred or hard to understand?
  • T (Time): If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Always be sure to note the time of onset of symptoms. A special clot-busting medication, known as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), if given within three or four hours of the first symptom, may help reduce long-term disability for the most common kind of stroke.

Contact Us

You can contact the Northwestern Stroke Center at 312-926-5188 or by the external transfer line at 312-926-3321.

Last UpdateJanuary 31, 2013