Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • 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
  • 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 (25%)
    • Intracranial small vessel disease (25%)
    • Embolic cause from the heart (20%)
    • Miscellaneous, including arterial dissection, vasculitis, and hypercoagulable states (5%)
    • No clear predisposing vascular cause found (25%)

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