What is a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)?

transient-ischemic-attackA Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), also called a ‘mini-stroke’, occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. Unlike a full-blown stroke, the symptoms of a TIA, which are very similar to a full stroke, last under 24 hours and afterwards there is full recovery.

A TIA is an indication that part of the brain is not getting enough blood and that there is a risk of a full stroke occurring.

What are the symptoms of a TIA / mini stroke?

The signs and symptoms of a TIA are the same as a full stroke. This may include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Facial weakness
  • Weakness in an arm and/or leg
  • Headache
  • Dizziness / vertigo
  • Reduced level of consciousness

A TIA should never be ignored and should be reported to a medical professional as soon as possible. According to The Stroke Association, without treatment a quarter of people having a TIA will go on to have a full-blown stroke within a few years and up to 12 per cent of those who develop a TIA will go on to sustain a stroke within the following 12 months. The highest likelihood of suffering a stroke after a TIA is within the first four to six weeks.

Medication such as Aspirin may be given to people who have suffered a TIA by doctors in order to reduce their chances of having a full stroke in the future. Do not administer any medication in the first aid environment until the person has been assessed by a medical professional. 

If you suspect someone is displaying symptoms of a stroke then you should seek emergency medical help as soon as possible. Never wait to see if symptoms will resolve by themselves. A TIA may appear the same as a full stroke in the initial stages. 

The FAST test is a useful way for first aiders and first responders to recognise the signs of a stroke. 

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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