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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

In Medicine, what does FAST stand for?

"Fast" as acronym

FAST is an acronym for quickly remembering the symptoms of a stroke. It is more frequently used in Australia, than in the United States, but a 2007 episode of the medical drama House featured the concept. It’s an excellent acronym to remember because early treatment of stroke is essential to reducing brain damage and mortality associated with stroke.

FAST is a fairly loose acronym, and the letters only correlate to a few symptoms of stroke. These are facial paralysis, arm weakness, and speech difficulties. The “T” in FAST is often translated as “time to act fast.” Others interpret the “T” as “test all symptoms.” The first interpretation is used by the Stroke Foundation of Australia, and for most laypeople, it’s probably best to remember the first definition. It is definitely essential to act quickly by contacting emergency services if a stroke is suspected.


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