What does BE FAST stand for in First Aid?

The ‘FAST’ test is a well-known tool used to identify the key warning signs of a stroke. A stroke is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. During a stroke, brain cells become starved of oxygen and can die leading to permanent disability or death.

The FAST test stands for:

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Speach
  • Time

The ‘BE FAST’ test for recognizing a stroke

Some stroke symptoms may not be picked up by using the FAST test. The blood supply to the brain is complex and involves many blood vessels. Disruption to some of these blood vessels may result in balance or eyesight problems.

The ‘BE FAST’ test aims to identify these additional warning signs of a stroke. BE FAST stands for:

  • Balance
  • Eyes
  • Face
  • Arms
  • Speach
  • Time

Balance refers to a sudden loss of balance or sensation of the room spinning (known as vertigo). Eyes refer to a sudden loss or blurring of vision. These symptoms can indicate a stroke affecting the blood supply to the rear of the brain.

If a patient has any warning signs of a stroke after testing BE FAST then urgent medical help should be sought. An urgent brain scan is required to exclude bleeding as a cause of the patient’s symptoms. Some stroke patients will be eligible to receive clot-busting drug therapy (known as thrombolysis) in order to breakdown the clot causing the symptoms.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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