TIA ‘Mini’ stroke could lead to Serious Disability

Stethoscope - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - A study found that a transient ischemic attack (TIA) could develop into a serious disability in the first 90 days of the event. TIA or “mini” strokes are often considered too mild to treat. The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Coutts, M.D., lead author of the study at Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, said that TIA and minor stroke patients are at a significant risk for becoming disabled and that patients should be imaged earlier and more aggressive treatments with thromboloysis should be used if a blockage is seen.

The researchers explained that most TIA and minor stroke patients do not typically undergo thrombolysis treatment that dissolves clots and helps to improve blood flow to the brain. The reason that doctors do not do thrombolysis is because they do not believe the stroke or TIA is serious enough for this treatment.

The researchers investigated 499 patients that had a “mini stroke.” After 90 days, 15 percent of the patients had developed at least a minor disability. The criteria set for a minor disability involved the person being unable to carry out previous activities, but they were still able to take care of personal affairs independently.

Patients that showed narrowed blood vessels in the brain with a computed tomography (CT) scan were twice as likely to have a disability at 90 days after the main event. Coutts suggested that these patients should be considered for thrombolysis treatement.

Additionally, patients who have type 2 diabetes are at a similarly increased risk for disability. Women with type 2 diabetes were twice as likely as men to be disabled from a TIA at 90 days.

Another concern after having a TIA is the risk for a recurring stroke. About 53 percent of the patients became disabled after suffered a recurrent stroke subsequent to having had a TIA or “mini” stroke. Comparatively, patients who had a stroke for the first time were at a 12 percent risk for disability.

"The symptoms of a TIA — abrupt onset of inability to move one side of your body, numbness on one side, dizziness and trouble walking — may pass quickly," Coutts said. "But, if you experience them, you should immediately go to the hospital, where proper scans can be done. Based on these results we have started a trial in Canada giving clot busting drugs to patients with mild symptoms, but blocked blood vessels in the brain. If ignored, these symptoms can lead to death. This is not a benign disease."

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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