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Researchers propose early stroke sign and symptom recognition tool for Spanish-speakers

Researchers with UTHealth have created an acronym, RAPIDO™, to address stroke sign and symptom awareness among at-risk Spanish-speaking individuals. (Photo by Getty Images)
Researchers with UTHealth have created an acronym, RAPIDO™, to address stroke sign and symptom awareness among at-risk Spanish-speaking individuals. (Photo by Getty Images)
There are currently no known Spanish stroke sign and symptom awareness acronyms in the United States.
There are currently no known Spanish stroke sign and symptom awareness acronyms in the United States.

Researchers with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have created an acronym, RAPIDO ©, to move forward much-needed efforts to address stroke sign and symptom awareness among at-risk Spanish-speaking individuals.

There are currently no known Spanish stroke sign and symptom awareness acronyms in the United States. 

The virtual video presentation proposal for the acronym, a collaboration among Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, and the UTHealth Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, won first place at the International Neuroscience Nursing Research Symposium and will be published by the International Stroke Conference (ISC) this week.

“Hispanics have a higher stroke incidence and recurrence and are less likely to know the signs and symptoms of stroke compared to non-Hispanic whites,” said Jennifer Beauchamp, PhD, RN, associate professor in the Department of Research at Cizik School of Nursing and lead researcher on the project. “We hope by creating this acronym, we are able to shed light on the need to educate those more vulnerable to having a stroke so they can understand the signs and symptoms of stroke and get help fast before it is too late.”

While translating a stroke education video from English into Spanish, Beauchamp’s nursing research staff and students realized there was a need to create an acronym for Spanish speakers living in the United States.

“We noticed that a stroke education video to be shown across patient hospital rooms was not tailored toward Spanish speakers,” said Tahani Casameni-Montiel, BBA, research coordinator at Cizik School of Nursing and project contributor. “We know that it is important to educate everyone on signs and symptoms of stroke; however, currently there are discrepancies when translating existing acronyms for Spanish speakers.”

Currently, the acronym “FAST” is used to educate the public on detecting symptoms of a stroke. FAST stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and Time. Beauchamp said when this memorization tool is translated into Spanish, it is not as effective.

RAPIDO stands for:

R – Rostro caído (fallen face)

A – Actuar confuso (acting confused)

P – Pérdida de fuerza en un brazo o pierna (loss of strength in arm or leg)

I – Impedimento visual (visual impairment)

D – Dificultad para hablar (difficulty speaking)

O – Obtenga ayuda RAPIDO, llame a emergencias (get help fast, call emergency services)

Beauchamp and her research team hope RAPIDO, like FAST, will be used across hospitals.

“Research shows Hispanics are dying at a faster rate and having second and even third strokes. So, if there is something we can do to raise stroke awareness in an at-risk population, then we will do it,” said Beauchamp.

The team is still in the preliminary stage of their research and they are seeking additional funding to investigate the impact of the acronym within the Spanish-speaking community before implementing it in stroke education programs.

Additional UTHealth authors on the proposal include Anjail Sharrief, MD, MPH; and Andrea Ancer Leal BSN-RN, LMSW.

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