Medical Q&As

T.I.A. - what is it?

What are T.I.A.'s and how do they present? Do they get progressively worse?

The letters T.I.A. stand for transient ischaemic attack. These episodes affect the blood supply to the central nervous system and result in a temporary interruption of normal functioning in the affected area of the brain. The symptoms vary depending on which area of the brain is involved. Typical patterns would include a temporary loss of vision, loss of speech, loss of power in a limb or even loss of consciousness. The hallmark of the T.I.A. is that the symptoms resolve completely in a matter of hours unlike a stroke where the effects can last longer and possibly become progressive. T.I.A.s can arise as a result of a temporary cardiac arrhythmia or the occlusion of a blood vessel by an embolus. The concern with these episodes is that they may herald the onset of a full-blown stroke. T.I.A.s should always be investigated in order to establish the cause. In some cases the risk of recurrence can be lowered through the use of low dose aspirin therapy.