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Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini-Stroke) (cont.)

What Is the Medical Treatment for Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)?

Treatment of TIA is aimed at preventing a future stroke.

  • Minimizing risk factors is a priority, including optimizing blood pressure, cholesterol and lipid levels, and controlling diabetes.
  • Aspirin is the drug of choice to prevent future TIAs or stroke. Aspirin makes platelets less sticky and prevents clot formation.
  • If the TIA occurs when the patient is already taking aspirin, then alternative anti-platelet drugs like clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix) or aspirin-dipyridamole ER (Aggrenox) may be indicated.
  • If the carotid ultrasound shows major narrowing of the artery (stenosis), referral to a vascular surgeon may be necessary to unclog the artery with a procedure known as carotid endarterectomy.

What Are the Next Steps in Caring for a Transient Ischemic Attack?

TIAs cannot be ignored since they are warning signs for a potential future stroke. Ten percent of people with TIAs will have a stroke within three months. The purpose of accessing medical care is to help minimize risk factors to help decrease that 10% risk. Published studies in 2007 suggest that if blood pressure is tightly controlled, cholesterol levels are reduced with medication, and smoking cessation is begun, the risk of future stroke can be reduced to 2%.

How Do I Prevent Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)?

Minimizing risk factors is a life long endeavor. While we cannot pick our family members and control genetic disposition for heart disease and stroke, we can eliminate some risks like smoking, and minimize others like poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. This prescription takes hard work and effort, but can help prevent narrowing of the arteries and the potential for TIA and stroke.

What Is the Prognosis for Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)?

TIA should be considered a major warning sign of potential of stroke. The patient and primary care provider should work as a team to help prevent the occurrence of a devastating stroke.

Medically reviewed by Joseph Carcione, DO; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology


Rothwell, PM "Effect of urgent treatment of transient ischemic attack and minor stroke on early recurrent stroke (EXPRESS study): a prospective population-based sequential comparison." Neurology. 2007 DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61448-2 Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): Prognosis and Key Management Considerations. ABCD2 Score.

Last Reviewed 11/21/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Trasient Ischemic Attack »

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) can be considered an acute episode of temporary neurologic dysfunction caused by a vascular occlusion.

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