Stroke Knowledge in an Irish Semi-Rural Community-Dwelling Cohort and Impact of a Brief Education Session.

Poor knowledge of stroke risk factors and failure to recognize and act on acute symptoms hinders efforts to prevent stroke and improve clinical outcomes. Levels of stroke knowledge are poorly established within Ireland. This study was conducted to establish levels of knowledge among men and women aged >40 years in an Irish community, and also to determine the impact of a single education session on stroke knowledge. Subjects from 2 separate geographical locations were allocated to an intervention group (n = 200), who received stroke information over a 90-minute session, or a control group (n = 200). Both groups completed a stroke knowledge questionnaire at baseline and at 4 weeks after the educational session. Overall, the initial response rate was 70% (280/400); 52% of the respondents knew that the brain is affected by stroke, 58% could list 2 or more risk factors but only 27% could list 2 or more warning signs, 50% would call 999 (emergency number in Ireland) in response to stroke, 17% had heard of thrombolytic therapy, but only 1% knew the time frame for receiving thrombolytics. The response rate to the resurvey following the educational session was 57%, with 47 of 117 subjects in the intervention group (40%) attending the session. Stroke knowledge scores improved by 50% in the intervention group (P < .001). Overall, the knowledge of stroke risk factors, warning signs, and thrombolytic therapy was poor in this Irish community-dwelling cohort. Our study demonstrates that a single educational session can improve short-term knowledge of stroke symptoms and thrombolytic therapy.