B.E.F.A.S.T.: Know the Signs of Stroke

Stroke Awareness

Do you know the signs of a stroke? This year, approximately 795,000 people in the United States will suffer from a stroke. Unfortunately, roughly 137,000 of those people will not survive the incident.

According to Andrew Schrotenboer, DO, emergency medicine physician and medical director for the stroke program at Holland Hospital, the most important thing is seeking care as quickly as possible. If there is any concern for a stroke, people need to seek care quickly,” he says. ”Stroke interventions need to happen within a certain time frame.”


A great way to remember the symptoms of stroke is the acronym B.E.F.A.S.T.:

  • B - Balance: A sudden loss of balance.
  • E - Eyes: A sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, double vision or loss of side vision.
  • F - Face: Drooping on one side of the face.
  • A - Arms: A sudden loss of coordination, numbness or weakness in one arm.
  • S - Speech: Sudden difficulty in speaking or swallowing.
  • T - Time: Call 911 immediately.

It's a quick stroke assessment that people can do wherever they are and then seek care accordingly,” says Dr. Schrotenboer.

Dr. Schrotenboer advises that if your loved one is exhibiting odd symptoms that dont exactly fit within the acronym, its important to still seek medical attention. Go with your gut,” he says. Not everyone fits the mold.”

One of the most important things that help emergency room doctors make treatment decisions is the timing of the onset of stroke symptoms. They often rely on friends, family and caregivers to supply that information along with any known medical conditions and a list of any home medications, especially blood thinners or aspirin.

If you really feel like something's off,” says Dr. Schrotenboer. Seeking timely care is of the utmost importance to improve long-term outcomes.”

Stroke treatment at Holland Hospital

There are several different options for stroke treatment. One is IV medicine that can break up a blood clot. The other is a procedure called a thrombectomy, where they can actually go in and pull out blood clots to restore blood flow.

At Holland Hospital, emergency room doctors do the critical work of stabilizing stroke patients and administering IV medications to ensure patients are transferred for a thrombectomy in the best condition possible. We at Holland are very experienced at facilitating the timely transfer of patients for a thrombectomy,” says Dr. Schrotenboer. We do the initial stabilization and get you exactly where you need to go.”

Any stroke treatment must happen in a very narrow window of time after the onset of symptoms. IV medications need to be administered within four and a half hours of a stroke, while a thrombectomy must be performed within 24 hours. Learn the signs and if you believe you or a loved one are experiencing a stroke, take action as soon as possible.

Where can I learn more?

Holland Hospital’s experienced stroke team includes emergency medicine physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, radiologists and others with specialized training including rehabilitation professionals who guide the recovery of patients whove experienced stroke, brain injury or other neurological conditions.

Andrew Schrotenboer, DO

Andrew Schrotenboer, DO

Education & Training

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Medical Education
Metro Health Hospital
Emergency Medicine
2015 - 2019