Embargoed until 4 a.m. CT/5 a.m. ET Thursday, September 14, 2023

DALLAS, September 14, 2023 — When someone has a stroke, every second counts. Identifying the symptoms and calling 911 quickly can make the difference between life and death or long-term disability. According to American Stroke Association stroke survey data, only 39% of Hispanic-Latino consumers said they were familiar with the English stroke warning sign acronym, F.A.S.T., and only 42% could correctly name two stroke warning signs unaided. To help close the gap between knowledge and action, the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is launching Juntos Contra el Derrame Cerebral, a culturally relevant Spanish-language campaign to raise awareness among Spanish-dominant audiences around the use and understanding of R.Á.P.I.D.O., a Spanish acronym for stroke warning signs that can help save lives.

Hispanic-Latino adults in the U.S. have a higher risk of stroke due to unmanaged risk factors, limited access to health care, lower health literacy rates, cultural barriers and socioeconomic determinants of health.[1] Hispanic-Latino stroke patients also have longer delay times to hospital arrival than non-Hispanic stroke patients[2], greater stroke severity[3] and poorer outcomes following stroke[4]. Juntos Contra el Derrame Cerebral aims to increase awareness of R.Á.P.I.D.O., address health disparities and ultimately improve stroke outcomes in the Hispanic-Latino community. The acronym is constructed to teach the five warning signs of stroke and the need to call 911 for quick medical response.

The Association seeks to empower the Hispanic-Latino community to learn the stroke warning signs and what to do using the R.Á.P.I.D.O. acronym. This approach considers the community's unique cultural and linguistic needs, facilitating better comprehension and response to stroke symptoms. The easy-to-remember acronym stands for:

R - Rostro caído​ (Face drooping)

Á - Alteración del equilibrio​ (Loss of Balance, or Lack of Coordination)

P - Pérdida de fuerza en el brazo​ (Arm weakness)

I - Impedimento visual repentino​ (Sudden vision difficulty)

D - Dificultad para hablar​ (Slurred or Strange Speech)

O - Obtén ayuda, llama al 911 (Get help, call 911)

Projections show that by 2030, the prevalence of stroke among Hispanic men will increase by 29%.[5] The Association’s adoption and promotion of R.Á.P.I.D.O. represents significant steps in addressing the lack of awareness of the increased risk of stroke faced by Hispanic-Latino people in the U.S., a group already disproportionately impacted.

" R.Á.P.I.D.O. is a tool that can help save lives," said José Biller, M.D., an American Stroke Association volunteer expert and professor and chair of Neurology at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. "The language barrier is among the most significant barriers to health care access and quality. Understanding which Spanish acronym resonated best with Spanish-speaking communities addresses this barrier while increasing stroke awareness and improving outcomes for all."

The R.Á.P.I.D.O. acronym was developed by a group of stroke experts at UTHealth Houston, many of whom are also American Stroke Association volunteers. The Association conducted scientific research to test the acronym’s effectiveness among Hispanic-Latino people who speak only or predominantly Spanish.

“The research to identify which Spanish acronym worked best for the Hispanic-Latino community was critical because the acronym reminds people what to look for and to “act fast” when they are having a stroke or see someone having one. These symptoms are sudden and must be recognized quickly for the person to receive the appropriate treatment as soon as possible,” said Jennifer Beauchamp, Ph.D., R.N., an associate professor at Cizik School of Nursing and the UTHealth Houston Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease. Beauchamp, who led a team of nursing students who came up with the idea for the acronym, is an American Stroke Association volunteer expert.

Achieving health equity requires a multifaceted approach, including targeted education, accessible resources and community engagement. The American Stroke Association’s Juntos Contra el Derrame Cerebral campaign includes a public service announcement highlighting R.Á.P.I.D.O., featuring Miami stroke survivor and Association volunteer Noelia Gutierrez. A catchy jingle that helps people memorize R.Á.P.I.D.O. and social and digital assets have also been developed to raise awareness about stroke and the importance of timely response within the Hispanic-Latino community.

By leveraging the cultural relevance of R.Á.P.I.D.O. and spreading awareness about stroke prevention within the Hispanic-Latino community, the Association, along with individuals, health care professionals, community organizations and more, aims to increase knowledge of stroke signs, symptoms, immediate management and modifiable risk factors of stroke, helping bridge the gap in stroke disparities and work towards achieving health equity for all people.[6] For more information about R.A.P.I.D.O. and stroke awareness, visit www.derramecerebral.org or www.stroke.org/rapido.

Additional Resources:

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. Connect with us on stroke.orgFacebookX, or by calling 1-888-4STROKE.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX, or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Spanish Media: Natalia Ortiz: 305-582-7954. Natalia.Ortiz@heart.org

English Media: Darcy Wallace: 303-801-4683. Darcy.Wallace@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org 

[2] Jones E, Kumar A, Lopez-Rivera V, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Functional Outcome after Thrombectomy: A Cohort Study of an Integrated Stroke Network. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis Off J Natl Stroke Assoc. 2021;30(12):106131. doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.106131

[3] .  Bosch PR, Karmarkar AM, Roy I, Fehnel CR, Burke RE, Kumar A. Association of Medicare-Medicaid Dual Eligibility and Race and Ethnicity With Ischemic Stroke Severity. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(3):e224596. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.4596

[4] Jones E, Kumar A, Lopez-Rivera V, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Functional Outcome after Thrombectomy: A Cohort Study of an Integrated Stroke Network. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis Off J Natl Stroke Assoc., 2021;30 (12):106131. doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.106131,  Jones EM, Okpala M, Zhang X, et al. Racial disparities in post-stroke functional outcomes in young patients with ischemic stroke. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis Off J Natl Stroke Assoc. 2020;29(8):104987. doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.104987, Burks JD, Chen SH, Luther EM, et al. Effect of Hispanic Status in Mechanical Thrombectomy Outcomes After Ischemic Stroke: Insights From STAR. Stroke. 2021;52(11):e715-e719. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.033326