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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) - Exams and Tests

Immediate evaluation is recommended if you have had or are having a transient ischemic attack (TIA). The purpose of evaluation is to:

  • Check for another cause of your symptoms, such as a stroke, low blood sugar (if you have diabetes), or Bell's palsy.
  • Look for a blood clot.
  • Find out whether you need surgery to reopen a blocked artery (carotid endarterectomy).
  • Find out whether you need medicines to prevent blood clots.

If your TIA symptoms have completely disappeared, the results of a physical exam will be normal, and the diagnosis of a TIA usually will be based on your medical history and certain tests.

Tests to detect a TIA

If a TIA is suspected, the doctor may want to do tests, such as a:

  • CT scan of the head, to check for bleeding in the brain when symptoms of a TIA are occurring and to check for evidence of a stroke or other disease, such as a tumor.
  • MRI scan, to check for damage to the brain from a stroke.

Tests to find the cause of a TIA

Further tests are often done to identify the cause of the TIA. If blockage of the carotid arteries is suspected, you may have tests such as:

TIA symptoms may be due to blood clots caused by a heart problem. If heart problems are suspected, you may have tests such as a:

You may have other blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), chemistry screen, and prothrombin time based on your age and medical history. Your doctor will use these tests to look for other causes of the TIA.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 05, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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