Allegheny Health Network
Find a
Doctor
Request An Appointment Login to
MyChart
Patient
Center
News Classes &
Events
Contact
Us
Call 412.Doctors

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a brief period – between one and five minutes – when parts of the brain do not receive enough blood. Because the blood supply is restored quickly, brain tissue does not die as it does in a stroke. A TIA is often called a “mini-stroke,” but it is more accurately characterized as a warning stroke that should be taken very seriously. The differences between a stroke and TIA is that a TIA is transient (temporary), and it usually causes no permanent injury to the brain.

Symptoms

  • Loss of (or abnormal) sensations in an arm, leg or one side of the body
  • Weakness or paralysis of an arm or leg or one side of the body
  • Partial loss of vision or hearing
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems thinking of or saying the right word
  • Inability to recognize parts of the body
  • Unusual movements
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Imbalance and falling
  • Fainting

 

Diagnosis

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) angiogram uses large magnets attached to a computer to show the flow of blood through your blood vessels.

Carotid arteriogram (angiogram) is an X-ray image of the blood vessels used to show specific arteries. A dye (contrast) is injected through a thin flexible tube placed in an artery, and the dye makes the blood vessels visible on the X-ray.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. It is used to view internal organs as they function and to assess blood flow through various vessels.

Treatments

Treatment of a TIA focuses on preventing a stroke from occurring. The major risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes, so eliminating these risk factors is the first step in treatment. You may also need to take medication or if the TIA was caused by your carotid arteries in your neck becoming too narrow, you may need a procedure – carotid artery stenting – to open them up. This can help prevent blood clots that block blood flow to your brain.