When people use the term "ministroke," what they're really often referring to is a transient ischemic attack (TIA) — a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain, spinal cord or retina.
The symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke, but a TIA doesn't destroy brain cells or cause permanent disability. However, TIAs may recur, and each TIA increases the risk of a subsequent stroke.
If you suspect that you've had a TIA, seek immediate medical attention. You may need various diagnostic tests, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a computerized tomography (CT) scan, to help determine what caused the TIA.
Depending on the underlying cause, you may need medication to prevent blood clots or a procedure to remove fatty deposits (plaques) from the arteries that supply blood to your brain (carotid endarterectomy).
May. 07, 2013
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- Furie KL, et al. Definition of transient ischemic attack. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 13, 2013.
- NINDS transient ischemic attack information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tia/tia.htm. Accessed March 13, 2013.
- Easton DJ, et al. Definition and evaluation of transient ischemic attack: A scientific statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Stroke Council; Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia; Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; Council on Cardiovascular Nursing; and the Interdisciplinary Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease. Stroke. 2009;40:2276.
- Ischemic stroke. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/stroke_cva/ischemic_stroke.html?qt=TIA&sc=&alt=sh. Accessed March 13, 2013.
- Questions and answers about carotid endarterectomy. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/carotid_endarterectomy_backgrounder.htm. Accessed March 13, 2013.