Transient Ischemic Attack

A transient ischemic attack (spelled ischaemic in British English) (abbreviated as TIA, often referred to as mini stroke) is a transient episode of neurologic dysfunction caused by ischemia (loss of blood flow) – either focal brain, spinal cord or retinal – without acute infarction (tissue death). TIAs share the same underlying etiology (cause) as strokes: a disruption of cerebral blood flow (CBF). TIAs and strokes cause the same symptoms, such as contralateral paralysis (opposite side of body from affected brain hemisphere) or sudden weakness or numbness. A TIA may cause sudden dimming or loss of vision, aphasia, slurred speech and mental confusion. But unlike a stroke, the symptoms of a TIA can resolve within a few minutes or 24 hours. Brain injury may still occur in a TIA lasting only a few minutes. Having a TIA is a risk factor for eventually having a stroke or a silent stroke. A silent stroke or silent cerebral infarct (SCI) differs from a TIA in that there are no immediately observable symptoms. A SCI may still cause long lasting neurological dysfunction affecting such areas as mood, personality and cognition. A SCI often occurs before or after a TIA or major stroke.

A cerebral infarct that lasts longer than 24 hours but fewer than 72 hours is called a reversible ischemic neurologic deficit or RIND.

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