Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Transient Ischemic Attack Overview

Another name for Transient Ischemic Attack is TIA.

What is a TIA?
A person with a transient ischemic attack has a brief interruption in the blood supply to an area of the brain, which causes the brain to malfunction for a short time. Usually, the symptoms of a TIA last less than one hour. In order to be diagnosed with a TIA, a person must have a normal CT scan of the brain, and the symptoms must resolve within 24 hours. A person with symptoms that last longer than 24 hours has suffered a stroke. Having a TIA does not guarantee that you will have a stroke in the future, but it dramatically increases the risk for a stroke in the future. About 1 out of 3,500 people in the US have a transient ischemic attack each year in the US. About 1 in 10 people who have a transient ischemic attack have a stroke within 3 months.

What are the symptoms of a TIA?
Symptoms of a TIA include the sudden onset of arm weakness or numbness, leg weakness or numbness, facial weakness, difficulty speaking, difficulty walking, difficulty swallowing, loss of vision, poor balance, or loss of coordination. The symptoms of TIA usually last for less than 60 minutes. A person with symptoms that last longer than 24 hours has suffered a stroke.

How does the doctor treat a TIA?
Treatment for a TIA may include oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, and blood thinner medications.

Continue to Transient Ischemic Attack Incidence

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Transient Ischemic Attack References
  1. 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. [15331793]
  2. 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. [9562311]
  3. 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. [12740550]
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