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Cerebrovasc Dis. 2003;16(1):21-6.

Public perception of stroke in Spain.

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  • 1Section of Neurology, Hospital General de Albacete, Barcelona, Spain.



Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in western countries. Improving attention to stroke demands better public information about the illness. The aim of the present study was to determine the current knowledge of stroke among the Spanish population.


We conducted a population-based telephone interview in Spain. A total of 3,000 respondents were selected at random following a systematic procedure aimed at filling the sex/age community quotas.


A total of 16,016 telephone calls were made. Three thousand respondents were eligible and 2,884 completed the telephone interview. Only 4.5% of respondents knew the term stroke, 1,719 (59.6%) participants were able to mention at least one stroke risk factor, and only 940 (32.6%) could mention at least one stroke sign without prompting. Most respondents considered stroke to be a severe and dangerous illness that can be treated, but less than half of the respondents went immediately to a hospital when faced with a stroke event. Suitable stroke knowledge was only achieved by 302 (10.5%) respondents. Those who had home-based occupations and no previous stroke experience were less likely to have suitable stroke knowledge.


This study confirms that our community is still unfamiliar with stroke. Wide population-based educational programs are needed to increase public knowledge of stroke. Our results indicate that people with home-based occupations should be the main target of our education campaigns.

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