logo for print

Recognizing the signs of a stroke

Submitted by EMS1 Staff

With a serious mortality rate in patients suffering from stroke, it is important for first responders to stay current on stroke assessment and treatment. The Cincinnati Stroke Scale is a tried-and-true system used to diagnose the presence of a stroke in a patient. It tests for abnormal results in three sign areas. If any one of the three tests shows abnormal results, the patient may be having a stroke.

Facial droop: Have the person smile or show his or her teeth. If one side doesn't move as well as the other so it seems to droop, that could be sign of a stroke.

  • Normal: Both sides of face move equally
    Abnormal: One side of face does not move as well as the other (or at all)

Arm drift: Have the person close his or her eyes and hold his or her arms straight out in front for about 10 seconds. If one arm does not move, or one arm winds up drifting down more than the other, that could be a sign of a stroke.

  • Normal: Both arms move equally or not at all
    Abnormal: One arm does not move, or one arm drifts down compared with the other side

Speech: Have the person say, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," or some other simple, familiar saying. If the person slurs the words, gets some words wrong, or is unable to speak, that could be sign of stroke.

  • Normal: Patient uses correct words with no slurring
    Abnormal: Slurred or inappropriate words or mute

Additional Resources

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2018 EMS1.com. All rights reserved.