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Name: Transient Ischemic Attack

Description: NINDS

This casebook is published and has been read 799 times.

The author of this casebook has identified the following medical topics as being highly relevant to this casebook.

  • Transient Ischemic Attack -- Brief reversible episodes of focal, nonconvulsive ischemic dysfunction of the brain having a duration of less than 24 hours, and usually less than one hour, caused by transient thrombotic or embolic blood vessel occlusion or stenosis. Events may be classified by arterial distribution, temporal pattern, or etiology (e.g., embolic vs. thrombotic). (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, pp814-6)
Notes

What is Transient Ischemic Attack?

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a transient stroke that lasts only a few minutes. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted. TIA symptoms, which usually occur suddenly, are similar to those of stroke but do not last as long. Most symptoms of a TIA disappear within an hour, although they may persist for up to 24 hours. Symptoms can include: numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or difficulty in talking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.

Is there any treatment?

Because there is no way to tell whether symptoms are from a TIA or an acute stroke, patients should assume that all stroke-like symptoms signal an emergency and should not wait to see if they go away. A prompt evaluation (within 60 minutes) is necessary to identify the cause of the TIA and determine appropriate therapy. Depending on a patient's medical history and the results of a medical examination, the doctor may recommend drug therapy or surgery to reduce the risk of stroke in people who have had a TIA. The use of antiplatelet agents, particularly aspirin, is a standard treatment for patients at risk for stroke. People with atrial fibrillation (irregular beating of the heart) may be prescribed anticoagulants.

What is the prognosis?

TIAs are often warning signs that a person is at risk for a more serious and debilitating stroke. About one-third of those who have a TIA will have an acute stroke some time in the future. Many strokes can be prevented by heeding the warning signs of TIAs and treating underlying risk factors. The most important treatable factors linked to TIAs and stroke are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease, carotid artery disease, diabetes, and heavy use of alcohol. Medical help is available to reduce and eliminate these factors. Lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining healthy weight, exercising, and enrolling in smoking and alcohol cessation programs can also reduce these factors.

Bookmarks The following information, which has been distilled by the casebook author from this and other websites is particularly relevant to this casebook.
Bookmarks - Web
Web Page Notes Concepts
 Transient Ischemic Attack Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (Transient Ischemic Attack)
 
 Transient Ischemic Attack: MedlinePlus (Transient Ischemic Attack)
 
 Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) From the American Heart Association (Transient Ischemic Attack)
 
 Transient ischemic attack (TIA): All - MayoClinic.com From Mayo Clinic (Transient Ischemic Attack)
 

This web-site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your doctor. It should not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.