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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke)

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Transient ischemic attack (TIA) facts

  • A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a brief interruption of blood flow to part of the brain that causes temporary stroke-like symptoms.
  • The risks for TIA are the same as for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease, and include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and family history.
  • The artery blockage may occur because of a ruptured plaque due to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, debris that floats downstream from narrowed carotid arteries or blood clots (emboli) that form (often in the heart) and travel to block an artery in the brain.
  • Since TIAs resolve on their own, the goal for treatment is to minimize the risk of future TIAs and stroke. Treatment involves looking for the reason why the TIA occurred.
  • Treatment may include aspirin or other anti-platelet medications like Aggrenox or clopidogrel (Plavix).
  • It is important to educate the patient and family that should another stroke-like event occur, 911 must be called and emergency medical services activated, since there is no guarantee that symptoms will resolve.


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