Most strokes are not preceded by a mini-stroke; but, if they are, they happen quickly – usually within 24 hours of the TIA – so people should seek immediate treatment.
A recent study found that about half the people who experience a full-blown stroke after having a mini-stroke will do so within 24 hours of the minor event.
A mini-stroke or warning stroke, known as a transient ischemic attack or TIA, is a momentary blockage of blood flow in a brain artery.
A recent issue of Neurology reported that about half of the TIA patients studied, who had a recurrent stroke, did so within the next 24 hours.
Typically, the 90-day risk of stroke after a TIA is three to 17.3 percent, highest within the first 30 days. Fourteen percent of people who survive a first stroke or TIA will have another one within a year. Males and African-Americans have higher rates of TIA than other groups.
A mini-stroke can cause major problems
People who have a TIA should seek medical treatment immediately, especially if they are experiencing traditional stroke symptoms. The average TIA lasts about a minute. Unlike a stroke, it causes no injury to the brain, according to the American Heart Association.
The key to treating a stroke is recognizing the symptoms and getting to the hospital immediately. The clot-dissolving drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) can reduce long-term disability if given within three hours after a stroke starts. That drug is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of stroke within three hours of stroke symptom onset.
Well-known stroke or TIA symptoms include:
* Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
* Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding words
* Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
* Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
* Sudden severe headache with no known cause
The short duration of these symptoms and the lack of permanent brain injury mark the main difference between a stroke and a TIA.
Risk factors of stroke include age, gender, race, family history and personal history of diabetes and stroke.
Robot link speeds stroke care
Western Baptist has teamed with the University of Louisville stroke center to make stroke specialists available in this region 24 hours a day, via a robot network. From the mobile robot, a wireless Internet link allows specialists in Louisville to interact with patients, families, physicians and nurses at Western Baptist. The specialist’s face is displayed on a video screen, and the voice is audible while he or she converses with and examines a patient in Paducah.
Via the robotic connection, U of L physicians can check patients’ cognitive reactions, study CT scans, observe vital signs and speak with family members. Once a diagnosis is made, Western Baptist staff can administer the IV medication, allowing the patient to stay close to home; or transfer the patient quickly to Louisville if more advanced intervention is required.
Chest Pain and Stroke Hotline
For help identifying signs and symptoms of stroke, phone our award-winning Chest Pain and Stroke Hotline at 1-800-575-1911 to speak with a registered nurse at Western Baptist.