Researchers found that nearly one in three stroke survivors had had a “mini-stroke,” known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), before the actual event, with most occurring in the week before.
Ischemic strokes account for 80% of all strokes and are caused by blockage of blood vessels supplying the brain. The remaining 20% of strokes are caused by ruptured blood vessels.
The researchers said that transient ischemic attacks, which have stroke-like symptoms, are known to often precede major strokes. These services usually take less than five minutes and do not cause permanent brain damage.
Peter M. Radcliffe, MD, researcher in the Department of Clinical Neurology. In Oxford Hospital News, England. “This study shows that the timing of a TIA is critical, and the most effective treatment should be started within hours of a TIA to prevent a major attack.”
Stroke warning signs start early
In a study published in the current issue of Neurology, researchers evaluated 2,416 people who had had an ischemic stroke.
They found that 23% of stroke patients had had a stroke before their stroke. 17% of those who had a TIA occurred on the day of the stroke, 9% the day before, and 43% sometime in the week before the stroke.
Given the short time period between a TIA and stroke, the researchers say, all people with TIA should be treated immediately to prevent permanent brain damage from stroke.
In many countries, people with TIA are discharged on an outpatient basis, usually for up to two weeks. But for preventive treatment to be most effective, it must begin within hours of the stroke and clinical guidelines must be revised accordingly, the researchers say.