Background and purpose: Underutilization of acute stroke therapy is driven by delay to hospital arrival. We present the primary results of a pilot, randomized, controlled trial to encourage calling 911 for witnessed stroke among middle school children and their parents.
Methods: This project occurred in Corpus Christi, an urban Texas community of 325,000. Three intervention and 3 control schools were randomly selected. The intervention contained 12 hours of classroom instruction divided among sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Parents were educated indirectly through homework assignments. Two-sample t tests were used to compare pretest and posttest responses.
Results: Domain 1 test questions involved stroke pathophysiology. Intervention students improved from 29% to 34% correct; control students changed from 28% to 25%. Domain 2 test questions involved stroke symptom knowledge. Intervention school students changed from 28% correct to 43%; control school students answered 25% correctly on the pretest and 29% on the posttest. Domain 3 test questions involved what to do for witnessed stroke. Intervention school students answered 36% of questions correctly on the pretest and 54% correctly on the posttest, whereas control students changed from 32% correct to 34%. A comparison of change in the mean proportion correct over time between intervention and control students was P<0.001 for each of the 3 individual domains. A poor parental response rate impaired the ability to assess parental improvement.
Conclusions: A scientific, theory-based, educational intervention can potentially improve intent to call 911 for stroke among middle school children. A different mechanism is needed to effectively diffuse the curriculum to parents.