Small Stroke May Mean a Bigger One Is Close Behind
WebMD News Archive
In fact, one-quarter of the TIA patients in his study suffered
some type of serious medical problem -- whether stroke, death, heart failure,
heart attack, or another TIA -- in the first three months following the TIA,
The researchers also were able to pinpoint specific risk
factors for stroke after a TIA: age over 65, diabetes, a TIA spell lasting
longer than 10 minutes, and temporary weakness or speech impairment during the
TIA, Johnston tells WebMD. "Each of these symptoms doubled their risk of
stroke," he says.
"It's what we've been saying all along -- that if you have
symptoms of stroke, get to the hospital," Johnston says. "Now we're
saying if your symptoms go away, you still need to get to the
His study also points to the need for more effective drugs to
treat TIA, Johnston tells WebMD. "Ninety-two percent of patients in this
study got medications that have been shown to reduce stroke risk, but the
medications didn't work. The drugs obviously are not strong enough."
In addition, most patients in the study were given aspirin --
"which is known to reduce stroke risk after TIA," Johnston says.
"But it worked in only 20% of cases." He plans future studies of more
Calling the study "a major contribution," Jeffrey
Saver, MD, neurology director of University of California-Los Angeles Stroke
Center, tells WebMD, "This revises our understanding of how frequently TIA
leads to stroke. It also suggests that if you have had a TIA, you got lucky,
you dodged a bullet this time. But there's no guarantee you will get lucky the
next time. If you have a TIA, you need to get to the hospital ER or contact
your doctor and be seen -- preferably that same day.
"The study also indicates that people who experience TIA
symptoms -- especially those considered to be at high risk -- should be
admitted to the hospital so that treatment can get under way to avoid stroke,
while those at lower risk may be adequately managed as outpatients," Saver