Background: Previous studies have demonstrated poor knowledge of stroke among patients with established risk factors. This study aims to assess the baseline knowledge, among patients with increased risk for stroke in Oman, of warning symptoms of stroke, impending risk factors, treatment, and sources of information. Methods: In April 2005, trained family practice residents at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital Clinics (cardiology, neurology, diabetic, and lipid clinics), using a standardised, structured, pre-tested questionnaire, conducted a survey of 400 Omani patients. These patients all demonstrated potential risk factors for stroke. Results: Only 35% of the subjects stated that the brain is the organ affected by a stroke, 68% correctly identified at least one symptom/sign of a stroke, and 43% correctly identified at least one stroke risk factor. The majority (62%) did not believe they were at increased risk for stroke, and 98% had not been advised by their attending physician that their clinical conditions were risk factors for stroke. In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, lower age and higher levels of education were associated with better knowledge regarding the organ involved in stroke, stroke symptoms, and risk factors. Conclusion: Because their knowledge about stroke risk factors was poor, the subjects in this study were largely unaware of their increased risk for stroke. Intensive health education is needed to improve awareness of stroke, especially among the most vulnerable groups.
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