The faster you can get the appropriate care, the better your chances are of not just surviving, but making a full recovery. If you suspect stroke, it’s important to think F.A.S.T.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, call 911 for help right away:

  • Face Drooping — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

  • Arm Weakness — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

  • Speech Difficulty — Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly?

  • Time to call 911 — If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Until recently, the only treatment for restoring blood flow after an acute ischemic stroke was the clot-busting drug tPA. But the window for success was small and it didn’t work well on large clots.

There are now minimally invasive, image-guided interventions to remove clots, large clots in particular, which are the most destructive—so its important when you call 911 that you insist to be taken a recognized leader in cutting-edge stroke treatment.