NHRMC Promotes BEFAST to Help Public Detect Strokes Quickly

October 15, 2020

NHRMC is promoting a simple acronym, BEFAST, to help the public notice the symptoms of a stroke immediately. The sooner a patient receives care, the better the odds of having an improved outcome.

BEFAST expands on the familiar FAST acronym, adding Balance and Eyesight to the equation.

"Time is brain!" said Dr. Vinodh Doss, neurologist. "The FAST acronym was introduced 20 years ago to educate and get people to the hospital quickly in order to receive thrombolytic therapy. Stroke care does not start with EMS or in the ED. It starts in the community. BE-FAST incorporates balance and vision into the screening tool. Adding these symptoms has been shown to improve detection and ultimately we feel will help more people get the right treatment."

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and are a leading cause of serious long-term health conditions. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke are key. You may have heard the acronym FAST, but did you know that FAST is now BEFAST?

The new acronym, “BEFAST,” has been revised by adding B for balance, and E for eyesight.

  • B: Balance – Is the person experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • E: Eyesight – Is the person having a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?

But don’t forget the original acronym:

  • F: Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • A: Arms – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S: Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • T: Time – If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.