Ask WVU Medicine - Transient ischemic attack with Muhammad “Mud” Alvi, MD









Transient ischemic attack

One in three people will have a more serious stroke within a year after suffering from a transient ischemic attack (TIA). WVU Medicine neurologist Muhammad “Mud” Alvi, MD, talks about a TIA – also known as a warning stroke – and why it’s important for your patient to
seek treatment.

What is a transient ischemic attack?
A transient ischemic attack resembles a stroke, but it usually only lasts a few minutes with no permanent damage. Immediate medical attention is needed to determine if a patient is experiencing a TIA or a stroke.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a TIA and other strokes may include numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or difficulty in talking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination. TIA symptoms usually disappear within an hour, although they could persist for up to 24 hours.

What are the risk factors?
Risk factors that can be treated or addressed include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity. Other risk factors include being age 55 and older, having a prior TIA or stroke, and having a family history of stroke. Males and
African Americans are also at greater risk.

How is a TIA diagnosed?
Patients will undergo a series of tests to find out the cause of TIA. An MRI or CT scan may be used to see if there is any evidence of stroke, even if the symptoms have resolved. Ultrasound may be used to search for blocked arteries, as well as cardiac testing, including
EKG and echocardiogram.

What if my patient has had a TIA?
Even if the symptoms have disappeared or your patient has experienced a TIA in the past, he or she needs to be evaluated and take steps to prevent a more serious stroke in the future. The WVU Medicine Stroke Center provides expert neurological evaluation of patients through
our telestroke program via a secure server and a web camera. This on-demand expertise helps rural hospitals quickly evaluate and treat potential stroke patients, and you don’t lose precious time until the administration of critical therapy.

Learn more:

For questions or to refer a patient, call 855-WVU-CARE.