Dr. Kanokwan Watcharasaksil

Stroke: Let’s Be FAST!

We know Every minute is precious!

If asking how important one-hundredth of a second is, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Or If you want to know the value of a single minute, ask the person who just missed the train or the employer who clocked in late this morning, or even the Stroke Fast Track doctor team who worthily uses every minute to save stroke patients!


Know FAST, Know First Can Prevent

  • Get to Know Stroke Quickly

Stroke is a sudden symptom. It occurs when a blood vessel, which brings blood and oxygen to the brain, gets blocked by a clot or ruptures. It causes brain cells do not get the blood and oxygen and leading nerve cells to stop working and dies within minutes. After that, it affects the parts of the body they control.

  • Be F.A.S.T Symptoms

B-E-F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke

Balance -Trouble

Eyes - Blurred

Face - Drooping

Arm - Weakness

Speech - Difficulty

Time - to call 1719

If you or relatives have these symptoms with suddenly occur, it is assumed symptoms of a stroke. Be-FAST includes inability to balance, a vision disorder like blurred vision or abnormal vision, weakness of limbs, weakness one or both sides of the face, slurred speech, inability to remember words, difficulty in communication, having a severe headache and dizziness. The mentioned symptoms result from the malfunction of the brain.

  • Who Needs to Know FAST?

“The answer is us all”; young, adult, female, or male. However, the high-risk group is 45 years old or older or those who are smoke, drink alcohol, have hyperlipidemia - high fat in the blood vessel, or have underlying diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, etc.


  • Stay conscious and come to the hospital as quickly as you can

“You have ONLY 4.5 hours”

Patients and caregivers need to suspect of being caused by a stroke, which requires urgent diagnosis and treatment. The recommendation is to immediately go to the nearest hospital or call the 1719 hotline for BES to transfer you to the hospital.

The brain is an organ that is very sensitive to hypoxia - lack of oxygen. Therefore, when symptoms occur, center of oxygen deprivation can immediately die, but the surrounding part which lacks the blood is not dead. With proper treatment and care, the brain can get recover. In the case of ischemic stroke from a narrow or blocked artery within 4.5 hours and does not have contraindication, blood clot dissolving drugs (Antithrombolytic drug) can be administered to open blood vessels. If symptoms last longer than 4.5 hours, but eligible for catheterization, it can be treated by catheterization to heal the blockage.


Receive the Medication FAST

Receiving the thromlytic drug timely (within 4.5 hours) gives the patient more chance of recovery. Hospitals with stroke care have established a Stroke Fast Track system to enable patients to access the mentioned medicine as quickly as possible.


Recover FAST

Apart from the use of medicine, it has a significant thing which is to perform physical therapy to get back to normal life, but depending on the severity and the brain damage area. Furthermore, currently, there is a treatment for stimulating the brain with electromagnetic waves call “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation”. The result of treatment will be better when combined with physical therapy.


However, stroke is a disease that has a chance to occur throughout the patients' life, especially during the first to the second year after stroke, and it rises over five years with a high of 40%. After that, the occurrence rate will be stable, but there is still a risk. Therefore, it is necessary to take medication to control the risk factors for the disease within the appropriate criteria.



Source: Assistant Professor Dr. Kanokwan Watcharasaksilp

Center of Excellence: Neuroscience Center

Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai