Introduction: early recognition of stroke signs lead to a better opportunity for acute management, to decrease morbidity and mortality impact. Public awareness campaigns have been developed with English language acronyms for recognition of these signs, but language and cultural differences should be taken into account for these educational strategies.
Hypothesis: we assessed the hypothesis that there is a need for a validated tool for Spanish speaking population for early recognition of stroke warning signs.
Material and methods: a 12-item electronic and paper-based survey for non-health related professionals evaluated the knowledge of early stroke signs in a Costa Rican sample. Using data from the FAST acronym, we developed a Spanish based acronym focused on the 3 most common symptoms, which was evaluated with medical professionals and non-medical population for clarity of message and informative content through a 10-item survey.
Results: 706 non-medical professional subjects answered the evaluation survey (56.7% female, median age 33 years [IQR 24-43 years]), with 76.2% answering that they were not capable of diagnose an acute stroke, and 97.2% considering the necessity of develop an educational campaign for acute stroke signs recognition. CAMALEON acronym (CAra [face], MAno/brazo [hand/arm], LEnguaje [language] and teléfONo [telephone]) was created adapting FAST acronym to Spanish. 25 medical professionals evaluated the medical content of the Spanish acronym (based on an educational video) with a 95% of acceptance of its content to explain medical symptoms; also 91% of 100 non-medical subjects were able to recognize adequately the symptoms after viewing the video material. This academic initiative is endorsed by the World Stroke Academy from the World Stroke Organization.
Conclusion: CAMALEON strategy is an adequate acronym for early recognition of acute stroke signs for Spanish speaking countries that should be validated in stroke awareness campaigns.