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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 a procedure to reopen a blocked artery.
  • Find out whether you need medicines to prevent blood clots.

Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and do a physical exam.

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 damage to the brain and to look for other disease, such as a tumor.
  • MRI scan, to check for damage to the brain and to look for other disease, such as a tumor.

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 (INR) based on your age and medical history. Your doctor will use these tests to look for other causes of the TIA.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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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