Mini stroke symptoms quickly fade, but patients remain at risk

February 5, 2013

Each year, as many as 500,000 Americans experience mini strokes called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).

Symptoms quickly go away, usually within an hour, and many people don't seek treatment. But 10 to 15 percent of people who experience TIAs will experience full-blown strokes within three months, and 40 percent of these strokes will occur in the first 24 hours, according to an article by three Loyola University Medical Center in the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics.

Rapid evaluation and treatment of TIA patients, either in the emergency room or in specially designed TIA clinics, can reduce the risk of subsequent strokes, according to authors Farrukh Chaudhry, MD, Jose Biller, MD and Murray Flaster, MD, PhD.

A TIA is caused by a temporary blockage, typically a blood clot, in a blood vessel in the brain. Symptoms are similar to that of a stroke, including numbness or paralysis on one side of the body, vision changes, trouble speaking, difficulty with balance or walking, sudden severe headache, etc.

that trigger TIAs can arise from atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart attacks and .

Advances in imaging techniques such as MRIs have improved in patients. And rapid treatment following TIAs can reduce the risk of stroke by about 80 percent, according to two studies, one in Britain and one in France. These studies "are suggestive but not fully conclusive," the authors write. "Better study designs are needed to prove this vital point."

A 2006 study in the journal Stroke found that only 44.1 percent of TIA patients – mostly those with motor symptoms – seek medical attention. "One factor may be minimization or ignorance on the part of TIA patients, relatives and friends, or on the other hand, under-diagnosis or under-prioritization by physicians," Chaudhry, Biller and Flaster write.

And even when patients do seek treatment and are correctly diagnosed, some may resist hospitalization because their symptoms have gone away.

Factors that help predict whether a TIA patient is at especially high risk for subsequent stroke include age over 60, high blood pressure, weakness on one side of the body, isolated speech difficulties, diabetes and symptoms lasting an hour or more.

Chaudhry is a stroke fellow, Biller is a professor and chair and Flaster is an associate professor in the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Explore further: 'Mini' stroke can cause major disability, may warrant clot-busters

Related Stories

'Mini' stroke can cause major disability, may warrant clot-busters

September 13, 2012
A transient ischemic attack, TIA or a "mini stroke," can lead to serious disability, but is frequently deemed by doctors too mild to treat, according to a study in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Recommended for you

Five vascular diseases linked to one common genetic variant

July 27, 2017
Genome-wide association studies have implicated a common genetic variant in chromosome 6p24 in coronary artery disease, as well as four other vascular diseases: migraine headache, cervical artery dissection, fibromuscular ...

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.