Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Comprehensive Approach to Diagnose and Treat Transient Ischemic Attack

Loyola Medicine is internationally known for its care of patients who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). The symptoms may be fleeting, but the danger of full-blown stroke remains—especially as strokes are the leading cause of disability in adults.

A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, occurs when blood travelling through an artery to the brain or within the brain is briefly blocked. This is usually due to a blood clot, but it may also be caused by an injury to blood vessels or a narrowing of a blood vessel in the brain or leading to the brain.  

Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one experiences any signs of a stroke or mini-stroke. The symptoms of a TIA, or mini-stroke, are the same as those of a stroke, but are temporary and may last only a few minutes. These symptoms include:

  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Difficulty understanding speech or sudden speech impairment, such as slurred speech
  • Facial paralysis
  • Sudden leg or arm weakness, numbness or paralysis, usually on one side
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
  • Sudden vision loss, or blurred or double vision
  • Unexplained dizziness or imbalance

If you think you or a loved one has suffered a transient ischemic attack, see a Loyola neurologist. If you have seen another doctor, Loyola’s neurologists can provide you with a second opinion and treatment after the symptoms have disappeared.

Why Choose Loyola for Treatment of a Transient Ischemic Attack?

If you have had a transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke, you are at much greater risk of a stroke. Keep in mind that a stroke may be life-altering or even fatal and requires treatment immediately.

Loyola’s Stroke Center has been accredited by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. For the sixth year in a row, Loyola was recognized in 2014 by the American Stroke Association with its Get with the Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for our commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care through a comprehensive system for rapid stroke diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

Loyola’s compassionate team understands that a stroke or mini-stroke can be life-changing not only for the patient, but also for family members. Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families. Our neurology and neurosurgery departments are highly ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-2016 Best Hospitals list. 

As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, exceptional care to patients and trains future leaders in neurology and neurosurgery. Our neuro intensive care unit is equipped with continuous EEG and video monitoring for adults and children and is staffed by certified technologists and trained neurology nurses, who have earned Magnet status.

How is Transient Ischemic Attack Diagnosed?

Your Loyola doctor will take your medical and personal history and conduct a thorough physical exam, including listening to your heart and key arteries. You may have one or more of these tests:

  • Angiogram
  • Blood tests
  • Brain CT scan (computed tomography)
  • Brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) 
  • Carotid duplex
  • CT angiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram, or EKG
  • MR angiogram

These factors may put you at greater risk of having a stroke or mini-stroke:

How is Transient Ischemic Attack Treated?

Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one experiences any signs of a stroke or mini-stroke. 

If you have had a TIA or mini-stroke within the past two days:

  • Your Loyola doctor will recommend that you have a surgery called a carotid endarterectomy if you have a blocked artery.
  • Your doctor will likely have you admitted to the hospital for observation and to run tests.
  • You may receive thrombolytic therapy or blood thinners, such as aspirin or Coumadin.
  • Your doctors and nurses will talk with you about how to make lifestyle changes if necessary.
  • You will be encouraged to quit smoking if you are a smoker.

Loyola’s transient ischemic attack clinic offers specialized services to treat TIA patients. Our dedicated doctors work quickly to evaluate and treat patients who may be at risk of stroke. If you experienced your symptoms a few days ago, you should consider talking with one of the highly experienced experts at Loyola’s second opinion stroke clinic.