Background: Effective implementation of early treatment strategies for stroke requires prompt admission to hospital which could be delayed for several reasons such as poor awareness of population. Objective: To assess current public knowledge of stroke. Methods: We randomly selected 411 persons living in Poitou-Charentes (area of nearly 1,700,000 persons in France) and performed an open-ended questionnaire regarding stroke risk factors, stroke warning signs, source of information, and stroke attitude. Results: Most of the patients (62.3%) were able to name three risk factors but not to report the most important and less than half of the respondents were able to recognize one or more stroke warning sign. Predictors of adequate knowledge of both stroke risk factors and warning signs were similar and included age and sources of information (books, magazines and newspapers or family members or relatives who have suffered from a stroke or general practitioner). Conclusions: This study emphasizes that knowledge of stroke risk factors and warning signs was moderate at best. Improvements can only result from using a broad range of sustained educational efforts through simple and understandable school education or public media. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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