New Spanish-language tool for stroke awareness to save lives: ‘It’s an alarming rate’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — To be able to recognize if you are having a stroke can mean life or death, and according to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, that can be especially hard for Spanish-speaking Hoosiers.

“All we want to do is care for our community and this is one of the ways that we can care for our Hispanic community as well as our American community,” Rosario Arroyo, a registered nurse at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital’s emergency department, said.

At Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, there’s a new Spanish language acronym for stroke awareness that can save lives.

A.H.O.R.A. stands for Andar, Hablar, Ojos, Rostro, and Ambos Brazos o Piernas.

It’s the same concept as B.E.F.A.S.T. in English, which stands for a loss of balance, changes in eyesight, facial drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty.

The final letter means it’s time to call 911.

“This acronym will help us do a better job of reaching out to our Spanish speaking community to help them understand the signs of stroke and come to hospitals like Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis,” Dr. Daniel Sahlein, an Interventional Neuroradiology specialist at Ascension St. Vincent, said.

The acronym A.H.O.R.A. adds the symptom of a sudden severe headache that is a predictor of hemorrhagic stroke that happens when there’s bleeding in the brain.

According to the hospital, this is experienced more often by its Spanish-speaking patients.

Arroyo says every year, they see around 100 Hispanic patients who have suffered a stroke.

“It’s an alarming rate here at St. Vincent,” Arroyo said. “One of the things that we see is that our Hispanic population tends to come into the front door and it is very important that they call 911 when they’re having these symptoms. There are certain treatments that we can start in the field that will help improve their treatment.”

Arroyo says there are also some cultural barriers.

“This acronym is very critical here at St. Vincent because our Hispanic population comes in and they’re very stoic and this will raise awareness in order to be able to help more people,” Arroyo said. “I’ve personally seen it. I’ve experienced it with my own family and they do come in stoic. It is just a cultural background difference that we all have.”

The hospital says their stroke team will be out in the community to let people know about this new acronym.