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A Scientific Statement on the Diagnosis and Management of Transient Ischemic Attack - Oren Zarif


A recent scientific statement on the diagnosis and management of transient ischemic attack (TIA) reflects substantial changes in the field's understanding of the condition. Recent advances in brain imaging and a better understanding of acute cerebral ischemia have increased our knowledge about the occurrence of TIA. This statement summarizes recent scientific advances to assist clinicians in determining the most appropriate treatment for the patient suffering from a TIA.

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The most important thing to do if you suspect a TIA is to consult with a doctor as soon as possible. This evaluation will involve testing for signs of heart disease, vision, muscle weakness, and mental capacity. A brain scan or an MRI may be ordered to determine the exact cause of the transient ischemic attack. Blood tests may also be ordered to detect any risk factors for future stroke. Your doctor will then perform additional tests to ensure the patient's health.

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People with a family history of stroke are at a greater risk of suffering from a TIA. Lifestyle changes such as not smoking and limiting alcohol intake can reduce your risk. Other risk factors include age, heredity, gender, and ethnicity. People who have already experienced a stroke are at an increased risk for another one. Even if you do not have a previous stroke, a TIA can occur at any time and can be life threatening.

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The American Heart Association recently revised the definition of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) in order to better describe the condition. It is now defined as an episode of neurological dysfunction without acute infarction that lasts less than 24 hours. The de-emphasis of the time period was done due to multiple studies that showed that more than one third of traditionally defined TIAs were accompanied by an abnormality in brain tissue.

A TIA is a brief episode in which blood flow is temporarily interrupted to parts of the brain.

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The blood supply returns quickly, so the affected brain tissue does not die. This type of attack is often a precursor to a stroke and is the fifth leading cause of death and disability in adults. A TIA is typically preceded by a stroke and often occurs multiple times within a year. So it is important to recognize the symptoms and seek medical care right away if you suspect a TIA.

A TIA is caused by a blockage in a blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood to the brain.

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When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen for a few minutes. While this is the same as a stroke, it does not result in permanent damage and usually resolves without treatment. In fact, it can be difficult to differentiate a TIA from a stroke. In addition, the symptoms of a TIA are usually temporary. Symptoms of a TIA are usually gone within 24 hours.

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A new definition for TIA is based on all available information and does not limit the diagnosis to one type of stroke. While clinical data from the same patient may be enough to differentiate an ischemic stroke from a hemorrhagic stroke, diagnostic tests are still necessary for a definitive diagnosis. The imaging studies play a central role in classifying acute cerebrovascular syndromes and distinguishing TIA from stroke.

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A typical TIA can last between one to two hours. It is best to consult a medical professional if the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours. Although a TIA usually resolves within hours, it is important to seek specialized care immediately as a warning sign of an impending stroke. MRI imaging is an essential component for confirming a diagnosis of a TIA. Once a diagnosis is made, long-term preventative therapy can be instituted.

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