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Transient Ischemic Attack

Transient Ischemic Attack: Introduction

A transient ischemic attack is a serious condition of the brain that is often called a "small stoke" or TIA. A transient ischemic attack is a serious warning sign that a person is at a high risk for eventually having a stroke. About one third or more of all people who experience a transient ischemic attack have a stroke within five years of their first transient ischemic attack.

A transient ischemic attack is the result of a temporary blockage of an artery in the brain by a blood clot or plaque (fatty deposit) that breaks away from the wall of an artery somewhere else in the body and lodges in an artery of the brain. This blocks the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain resulting in symptoms that are similar to symptoms of a stroke. Symptoms include weakness, dizziness or headache. Symptoms of a transient ischemic attack generally go away by themselves in less than an hour as the blockage dissolves. In contrast, symptoms of a stroke do not go away rapidly without treatment and lead to death (necrosis) of the affected brain tissue. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of transient ischemic attack.

Risk factors for transient ischemic attack include having atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. Other risk factors include being of African-American ancestry, male, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, smoking and having a family history of heart disease or stroke.

Making a diagnosis of transient ischemic attack includes completing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination, including a neurological examination. A neurological exam evaluates the nerves and nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing.

Diagnostic testing includes imaging tests that create images of the brain or arteries, such as a CT, MRI and cerebral angiogram of the brain. A cerebral angiogram reveals obstructed or narrowed arteries in the brain and can show blood flow. Another test that is performed is a carotid ultrasonography. This test creates a picture of the carotid arteries in the neck using sound wave technology, which can show narrowing or obstruction of the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are the main arteries that supply blood to the brain.

A battery of other tests are also performed to test for other conditions that commonly occur with or underlie transient ischemic attack, such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

It is possible that a diagnosis of transient ischemic attack can be missed or delayed because the symptoms may be mild and can go away in a few minutes. Symptoms can also be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, as well as diseases and conditions that can mimic transient ischemic attack, refer to misdiagnosis of transient ischemic attack.

If caught early, the underlying causes of a transient ischemic attack can often be treated to effectively lower the risk of stroke. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of transient ischemic attack. ...more »

Transient Ischemic Attack: A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a stroke that it lasts only a few minutes. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) Information Page: NINDS) ... more about Transient Ischemic Attack.

Transient Ischemic Attack: Temporary disturbance of blood supply to a restricted area of the brain, resulting in brief neurologic dysfunction that persists, by definition, for less than 24 hours. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Transient Ischemic Attack is available below.

Transient Ischemic Attack: Symptoms

Symptoms of a transient ischemic attack differ depending on a variety of factors, including age, coexisting diseases, medical history, and the type and size of the area of the brain tissue that is affected. Typical symptoms are similar to symptoms of a stroke. However, symptoms of a transient ischemic attack only last for a few minutes to about an hour or so, go away by themselves ...more symptoms »

Transient Ischemic Attack: Treatments

The most effective transient ischemic attack treatment plan uses a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care aimed at minimizing the risk factors for developing transient ischemic attack and a subsequent stroke. Preventive measures include regular medical care to monitor and address such risk factors as high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes, hypertension ...more treatments »

Transient Ischemic Attack: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of transient ischemic attack may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms may be mild or vague and can go away on their own within minutes. Some people may not seek medical care because they believe that they have only had a mild "spell" and that it is simply a part of normal aging. However, immediate diagnosis and treatment of symptoms of transient ischemic attack is vital because ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attack

  • Patterns of symptoms of TIAs:
    • Sudden onset of symptoms
    • Episodes of stroke-like symptoms - see the symptoms of stroke
    • Short duration of episode - usually a few minutes up to 30 minutes; rarely more than 2 hours. If lasting 24 hours
    • The condition is called stroke
  • more symptoms...»

Treatments for Transient Ischemic Attack

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Transient Ischemic Attack?

Transient Ischemic Attack: Related Patient Stories

Transient Ischemic Attack: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Transient Ischemic Attack.

Diagnostic Tests for Transient Ischemic Attack

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Transient Ischemic Attack: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Transient Ischemic Attack:

  • Stroke - a TIA indicates an oncoming full stroke in about a third of cases.
  • Recurrent TIAs - some cases have recurrences of TIAs, and in some severe cases, several TIAs daily.
  • more complications...»

Causes of Transient Ischemic Attack

More information about causes of Transient Ischemic Attack:

Disease Topics Related To Transient Ischemic Attack

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Transient Ischemic Attack:

Transient Ischemic Attack: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Transient Ischemic Attack

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, more »

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it more »

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild concussion more »

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), for which more »

Brain pressure condition often misdiagnosed as dementia: A condition that results from an excessive pressure of CSF within the brain is often misdiagnosed. It may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease or dementia (such as more »

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return. A variety of symptoms can occur in post-concussion syndrome and more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See more »

Transient Ischemic Attack: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Transient Ischemic Attack: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Transient Ischemic Attack

Medical research articles related to Transient Ischemic Attack include:

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Transient Ischemic Attack: Animations

Prognosis for Transient Ischemic Attack

Research about Transient Ischemic Attack

Visit our research pages for current research about Transient Ischemic Attack treatments.

Clinical Trials for Transient Ischemic Attack

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Transient Ischemic Attack include:

Prevention of Transient Ischemic Attack

Prevention information for Transient Ischemic Attack has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Transient Ischemic Attack.

Statistics for Transient Ischemic Attack

Transient Ischemic Attack: Broader Related Topics

Transient Ischemic Attack Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Transient Ischemic Attack, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Transient Ischemic Attack

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a stroke that it lasts only a few minutes. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) Information Page: NINDS)

Definitions of Transient Ischemic Attack:

Recurring, transient episodes of neurologic dysfunction caused by cerebral ischemia; onset is usually sudden, often when the patient is active; the attack may last a few seconds to several hours; neurologic symptoms depend on the artery involved. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Brief episode in which the brain gets insufficient blood supply; symptoms depend on the site of the blockage - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Transient Ischemic Attack is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means that Transient Ischemic Attack, or a subtype of Transient Ischemic Attack, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)


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