Transient ischemic attack
- 1 Diagnosis
- 2 Treatment
- 3 Prognosis
- 4 References
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a type of transient neurological attack. In a TIA, the focal area of brain cells were not killed, but only transiently deprived of blood supply and the signs of what seems to be a stroke, (or black-out), pass quickly and completely. A TIA is often a warning sign of an impending stroke, however, and like a true stroke, is a neurological emergency. None the less, a TIA is not a true stroke.
History and physical examination
The history and physical examination of patients with a possible TIA is difficult to interpret. Two neurologists interviewing the same patient have statistically 'substantial' but imperfect agreement about whether the patient had a TIA. Disagreement may occur even when a 'standardized' patient is trained to give identical histories to each neurologist.
Other disorders that may cause similar symptoms are syncope, seizure, migraine, vestibulopathy, and conversion disorder.
The most effective anti-platelet treatment is probably to combine aspirin, 25 mg twice a day with extended-release dipyridamole 200 mg twice a day according to the ESPRIT
Carotid endarterectomy may prevent stroke in patients with more than 70% stenosis of the carotid artery.
Expedited care protocol
A before and after comparison study found reduced mortality fell from 10% to 2% with the following protocol started the day the patient presents for medical care:
- "antiplatelet therapy: aspirin in patients not already on antiplatelet therapy (75 mg daily), or clopidogrel if aspirin was contraindicated" (loading dose of clopidogrel 300 mg).
- * "In patients seen within 48 h of their event, or those seen within 7 days who were thought to be at particularly high early risk", clopidogrel (75 mg daily, to be stopped after 30 days; loading dose of clopidogrel 300 mg) was recommended in addition to aspirin."
- However, as noted above combining aspirin 25 mg twice a day with extended-release dipyridamole 200 mg twice a day might be a better choice than either aspirin alone or aspirin combined with clopidogrel.
- simvastatin 40 mg daily
- "blood pressure lowering unless systolic blood pressure was below 130 mm Hg on repeated measurement (either by increases in existing medication, or by commencement of perindopril 4 mg daily with or without indapamide 1·25 mg daily)"
- anticoagulation as required
- "Brain imaging was required before starting combination antiplatelet treatment or anticoagulation after a minor stroke"
Another approach is based on the ABCD2 score (see below). If score 6-7, hospitalize patient If score 4-5, image carotids and admit if significant stenosis.
Overall, about 10% of patients will have a stroke within 7 days. This is especially true in patients with TIA due to small-vessel disease (SVD) etiology with motor weakness (capsular warning syndrome).
The risk of stroke among patients presenting to the emergency room with a TIA is approximately 3% to 5% in the next 2 days and 4% to 7% over the next week according to a second meta-analysis. This meta-analysis thought the ABCD2 (below) provided the best estimate.
Calculating estimated prognosis
History and physical
"The simpler FAST scale could replace the more complex ROSIER for the initial assessment of patients with suspected acute stroke in the emergency department.". 
The ABCD2 score (http://www.stroke.org/site/DocServer/NSA_ABCD2_tool.pdf) is a clinical prediction rule that can predict likelihood of subsequent stroke over short term or long term.
- Calculation of score
The score is calculated as:
- Age ≥ 60 years = 1 point
- Blood pressure at presentation ≥ 140/90 mm Hg = 1 point
- Clinical features
- unilateral weakness = 2 points
- speech disturbance without weakness = 1 point
- Duration of attack
- ≥ 60 minutes = 2 points
- 10-59 minutes = 1 point
- Diabetes = 1 point
Interpretation of score, the risk for stroke from the original study:
- Score 0-3 (low)
- 2 day risk = 1.0%
- 7 day risk = 1.2%
- Score 4-5 (moderate)
- 2 day risk = 4.1%
- 7 day risk = 5.9%
- Score 6–7 (high)
- 2 day risk = 8.1%
- 7 day risk = 11.7%
Improvements to the ABCD2
The score may be improved by the ABCD3 score which adds a point for 'dual' attacks within 7 days.
The rule may be improved by adding the presence of brain infarction visualized on diagnostic imaging using either brain infarction on either diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography or brain imaging combined with imaging of the carotid artery (ABCD3-I).
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