Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)



  • TIA – an episode of reversible neurologic deficit caused by a temporary decrease in blood flow to an area of the central nervous system (CNS)
  • Classically described as symptoms lasting <24 hr, but most TIA symptoms resolve in <1 hr
  • Some patients have transient neurological symptoms, but will have infarction on imaging – called “stroke with transient symptoms”
  • A warning for stroke, as 12–30% of strokes will be preceded by TIA


  • Transient decrease in perfusion to an area of the CNS, which can be caused by:
    • Thrombosis in medium to large arteries with atherosclerosis (10%)
    • Intracranial small vessel disease (15%)
    • Embolic cause from the heart (35%)
    • Miscellaneous, including arterial dissection, vasculitis, and hypercoagulable states (5%)
    • No clear predisposing vascular cause (25–50%)

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