A transient ischemic attack often precedes a stroke. A TIA happens when part of the brain no longer gets enough blood supply. The symptoms are paralysis, visual impairment and slurred speech.
At a glance
- A transient ischemic attack is an emergency that requires immediate treatment.
- The attack is often a precursor of a stroke.
- The symptoms are sudden-onset severe headaches, paralysis, visual impairment and slurred speech.
- A transient ischemic attack is usually caused by a blood clot that blocks a vessel in the brain.
Note: The information in this article cannot and should not replace a medical consultation and must not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.
What is a transient ischemic attack?
A transient ischemic attack, or TIA for short, is used to describe a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.
What are the signs of a transient ischemic attack?
The symptoms of a TIA are similar to that of a stroke. But the difference is that the described symptoms go away within 24 hours.
Typical symptoms include:
- sudden-onset severe headaches
- paralysis of an arm or leg on one side of the body
- visual impairment
- slurred speech
These signs can go away again after a few minutes to several hours.
Important: The difference with a TIA in comparison to a stroke is that the clot dissolves again quickly, leaving no noticeable damage.
For more detailed information, such as the signs of a stroke, visit gesundheitsinformation.de.
What causes a transient ischemic attack?
The TIA can be caused by a blood clot. This blood clot then blocks a vessel in the brain. This cutting off of the blood supply also happens with strokes. The difference with a TIA is that the clot dissolves again quickly, leaving no noticeable damage.
How is a transient ischemic attack diagnosed?
Since there is no difference in the initial symptoms, a transient ischemic attack is an emergency, comparable to a stroke. The emergency doctor must be called immediately if there is any suspicion. The person should not wait until the symptoms go away again.
The emergency doctor will carry out initial tests. If possible, those affected are taken to a hospital specializing in strokes, where doctors will begin further tests to determine the cause and also start treatment as soon as possible.
How is a transient ischemic attack treated?
When the first signs appear, it is not clear whether it’s a stroke or a TIA. It is treated the same way that a stroke is treated.
Further treatment and monitoring will depend on the course the condition takes and the results of further examinations.
- Brereton L, Carroll C, Barnston S. Interventions for adult family carers of people who have had a stroke: a systematic review. Clin Rehabil 2007; 21(10): 867-84. Aufgerufen am 14.06.2020.
- Forster A, Brown L, Smith J, House A, Knapp P et al. Information provision for stroke patients and their caregivers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012; (11): CD001919. Aufgerufen am 14.06.2020.
- Hackett ML, Yang M, Anderson Craig S, Horrocks Judith A, House A. Pharmaceutical interventions for emotionalism after stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010; (2): CD003690. Aufgerufen am 14.06.2020.
- Hackett ML, Yapa C, Parag V, Anderson CS. Frequency of depression after stroke: A systematic review of observational studies. Stroke 2005; 36(6); 1330-40. Aufgerufen am 14.06.2020.
- McPherson K, Kersten P, Turner-Stokes L. Background to neurorehabilitation. In Candelise L et al (eds). Evidence-based neurology. BMJ Books: London 2007.
In cooperation with the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen) (IQWiG). As at: