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Identifying and Managing a TIA

Diagnosing a TIA

As part of diagnosing a TIA the healthcare provider will probably ask a number of questions (such as those concerning the patient's medical history and symptoms) and perform a physical exam. If the healthcare provider believes that a person has had a TIA, he or she may order additional tests to look for possible causes of a TIA or to rule out other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of a TIA.
These tests may include:
  • Blood tests (such as tests looking for high cholesterol or diabetes)
  • Computed tomography scan (also known as a CAT scan or CT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Carotid Doppler ultrasound
  • Carotid arteriography
  • Cerebral angiography (also known as a cerebral angiogram, cerebral arteriogram, or digital subtraction angiography)
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Transcranial Doppler
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Electroencephalography (EEG).
(Click TIA Diagnosis for more information on diagnosing a TIA.)

Treatment Options

Research has shown that people who get treatment for a TIA can significantly decrease their chances for a stroke.
Treatment for a TIA typically involves the following:
  • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, changing your diet, or increasing your physical activity
  • Medications used to help blood from clotting or control TIA risk factors, such as high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation
  • A surgery or procedure to help decrease the chances of another transient ischemic attack.
(Click TIA Treatment for more information on these treatment options for a TIA.)
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