Study: Blacks Call Family, Friends First When Experiencing Stroke

Researchers interviewed 100 patients hospitalized for stroke


 
 

MARY BROPHY MARCUS, USA TODAY | | Friday, May 6, 2011


Most blacks ring up a friend or relative, not 911, when they have stroke symptoms, a new study suggests.

In the study, published today online in the journal Stroke, Georgetown University Medical Center researchers surveyed 253 community volunteers living in a predominantly black, urban area of Washington, D.C., about how they would handle stroke symptoms. Eighty-nine percent said that they would call 911 first.

When the researchers interviewed 100 patients hospitalized for stroke in the same geographical area, however, only half said they had arrived at the hospital by ambulance.

Almost half had delayed seeking medical help because they thought symptoms weren't serious. Three-fourths called family or a friend.

"There's a disconnect about knowing what to do and actually doing it in a real-life situation," says Chelsea Kidwell, director of the Georgetown University Stroke Center.

About 6.5 million Americans have had a stroke; 3.7% of blacks have had a stroke, while among whites, the rate is 2.2%, the American Heart Association says.

Kidwell says many people aren't aware there is a treatment for stroke, called tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator. It's a clot-busting drug that can reduce the debilitating aftereffects of a stroke. It's critical that tPA be administered within the first few hours after symptoms appear.

"Embarrassment at calling an ambulance and bringing attention to themselves, not wanting their neighbors to know what's going on" also can be a factor, Kidwell says.

A stroke is not like a heart attack, so it is easier to ignore at the onset, says Ausim Azizi, a professor of neurology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "It doesn't cause pain or shortness of breath -- it's somewhat benign until it's too late," he says.

Cultural factors play a role, too, he says. Blacks may "want to have a friend to go with them, so they have safety. It's about trust -- is the medical system going to do the right thing by them or not?" Azizi says.

"This study is a great example of how some of the most practical, important issues of stroke care are right in front of us. How do we get these patients to treatment?" says David Liebeskind, associate neurology director at the UCLA Stroke Center. He says people need to know that stroke symptoms can resolve initially because the body tries to compensate, leading someone to believe there's not a problem any more -- but the blockage is still there and medical care is needed.

Liebeskind recommends everyone ask themselves or a loved one what they would do if they experienced stroke symptoms, and have a plan.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, stroke, research

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Medics Ditch Pants for Kilts

“Real men do wear kilts.”
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC September 11 Commemoration

Tolling of the bell begins the anniversary ceremony.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wrong Fuel Cited in New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

Plane received jet fuel instead of aviation fuel.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wake County EMS PAT

Physical ability test demonstration.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

CO Leak at Illinois School

Girard incident sends over 130 to hospitals.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On September 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >