The evaluation of a TIA begins with a history and physical exam.
Usually, the physical exam in someone with a TIA is normal, because the symptoms are brief.
Physical findings in someone with a TIA may include:
- Sudden numbness in one arm or leg:
- Sudden weakness in one arm or leg:
- Facial weakness (unilateral):
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty walking
- Change in vision:
- Difficulty with balance
- Loss of coordination
- Memory loss
Tests that may be used to evaluate a TIA include:
- CT scanning of the brain
- A new application of brain CT is called CT perfusion or CTP. CT scanners, with the CTP software upgrade, can produce colored images that provide much more information on which parts of the brain are not getting enough blood flow and which parts have sustained irreversible brain damage. CTP scanning may help doctors to determine which patients may be the best candidate for clot buster medications.
- MRI scan of the brain
- SPECT scan of the brain
- PET scanning of the brain:
- Can detect changes in brain metabolism and activity.
- Coagulation profile
- Kidney profile
- Pulse oximetry
Carotid artery tests that may be used to evaluate a TIA include:
Less commonly performed tests that may be used to evaluate a TIA include:
Continue to TIA Treatment
- Dijk JM, van der Graaf Y, Grobbee DE, Bots ML; SMART Study Group. Carotid stiffness indicates risk of ischemic stroke and TIA in patients with internal carotid artery stenosis: the SMART study. Stroke. 2004 Oct;35(10):2258-62. 
- Puranen J, Laakso M, Riekkinen P Sr, Sivenius J. Risk factors and antiplatelet therapy in TIA and stroke patients. J Neurol Sci. 1998 Feb 5;154(2):200-4. 
- Rothwell PM. Incidence, risk factors and prognosis of stroke and TIA: the need for high-quality, large-scale epidemiological studies and meta-analyses. Cerebrovasc Dis. 2003;16 Suppl 3:2-10.