Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Prompt Diagnosis and Treatment of Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini-stroke)

Loyola Medicine is internationally known for its care of patients who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). TIAs typically do not cause lasting damage, but someone who has had a TIA is at risk for a major ischemic stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults and can be fatal.

A TIA, also called a “mini-stroke,” is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. This is usually caused by 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 

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. Rapid evaluation of TIA patients can reduce the risk of subsequent strokes. Loyola’s transient ischemic attack clinic offers specialized services to treat TIA patients.

Loyola’s Stroke Center is accredited by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. Loyola is recognized 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.

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.

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

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 experienced symptoms of a TIA (mini-stroke) within the past two days:

  • Your Loyola doctor may recommend a procedure to treat a blocked artery.
  • Your doctor may 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.

If you experienced your symptoms a few days ago, you should consider talking with one of the highly experienced neurologists at Loyola’s second opinion stroke clinic. If you have seen another doctor, Loyola’s neurologists can provide you with a second opinion and treatment after the symptoms have disappeared.

The risk factors for mini-stroke are the same as those for stroke. The risk of having a TIA increases with age. Other factors also may put you at greater risk, including:

  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Circulation problems, especially poor blood circulation in the legs
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of stroke
  • Heart disease, including heart valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)
  • High blood pressure, also known as hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Smoking and other tobacco use​

Stroke survivors are at risk of having another stroke and should take signs of a TIA seriously.