Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini-Stroke) (cont.)
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When to Seek Medical Care
A stroke is a medical emergency. When a stroke is suspected, emergency medical services should be activated (911 should be called in the US). With the inability to predict the future, there is no way of knowing whether the symptoms will resolve. If the symptoms persist and a stroke situation exists, there is a narrow window of time to intervene and potentially use TPA (a clot-busting drug) to restore blood supply to the brain and reverse the neurologic deficits. Depending on the hospital and its capabilities, there may be only three to four and a half hours from the onset of symptoms in which to administer the drugs. In that time, the patient needs to be examined, blood tests need to be drawn, a CT scan of the head needs to be performed to insure that a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain) is not the cause, and a neurologist needs to be contacted.
If EMS is not activated and the symptoms resolve so that the patient, family, or friends suspect that a TIA has occurred, there is still a need to seek care urgently. It may be reasonable to contact the primary care provider to help coordinate the evaluation.
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