What is a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and what is the likelihood it will lead to ischemic stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an acute episode of temporary neurologic dysfunction that results from focal cerebral, spinal cord, or retinal ischemia and is not associated with acute tissue infarction. Roughly 80% of TIAs resolve within 60 minutes. [62] TIA can result from the same mechanisms as ischemic stroke. Data suggest that roughly 10% of patients with TIA will suffer a stroke within 90 days and of those, half suffer a stroke within 2 days. [63, 64]

The classic definition of TIA included symptoms lasting as long as 24 hours. With advances in neuroimaging, however, it now appears that many such cases presumed to be TIA actualy are minor strokes with areas of infarction found on imaging but with resolved symptoms, rather than true TIAs. Thus, the current definition of TIA is based on tissue pathophysiology rather than symptom duration. [62]

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