Transient Ischeamic Attack (TIA)
The TIA clinic at the Princess Royal is run by the TIA Clinical Nurse Specialist in conjunction with Stroke Consultants
The aim of the TIA clinic is to minimise the risk of patients going on to have a disabling strokes. All referrals are triaged prior to assessment and appointment obtained.
It is a one-stop clinic whereby each patient is investigated on an individual basis. There are facilities for ECG, carotid doppler, and/or echocardiogram and MRI scan of the brain.
Other cardiac investigations, are requested as appropriate but these investigations may not be done on the same day. The patient should expect their first appointment to last a few hours.
What is a TIA?
TIA stands for transient ischaemic attack. It is a temporary disruption in the blood supply to the brain. (Transient means temporary and ischaemia is the medical term for an inadequate supply of blood).
TIAs are caused by a blockage in one of the arteries supplying the brain with blood. (Arteries are the blood vessels through which blood flows from the heart to the rest of the body). Usually, the blockage is a blood clot.
The brain depends on a supply of blood for the oxygen and nutrients it requires to function properly. When the blood supply is disrupted, brain cells are starved of oxygen and nutrients. This can cause damage to the brain tissue. With TIAs, the clot dissolves and the blood supply resumes before any damage becomes permanent.
TIAs are linked to stroke and are sometimes referred to as mini strokes. TIAs are a warning sign that you are at risk of a stroke and should not be ignored. TIAs can affect people of any age but are more common in older people.
What are the symptoms of a TIA?
The main symptoms of TIA are the same as those of stroke:
- physical problems in one side of the body
- (Numbness, weakness), drooping in one side of the face, speech problems (slurred speech, muddled words), visual problems (blurred vision, loss of vision) and dizziness.
The onset of TIA symptoms is usually sudden
Each person is affected differently by TIA and individual symptoms depend on which parts of the brain are affected and for what specific functions these parts of the brain are responsible.
A TIA is temporary and people make a full recovery within a short period of time. The length of TIAs differs for individuals but, commonly, symptoms would not last more than 24 hours. Some people might have more than one TIA and it is possible to have several TIAs in a short space of time
Tests and investigations
The key test for TIA is a brain scan. You will have a MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan.
You might also have an ultrasound test to check for any blockages in the main arteries in your neck which supply your brain with blood (the carotid arteries). Your blood pressure will be checked, you will have blood tests to check your cholesterol and glucose levels, and other tests to check your heart.
What are the treatments?
People who have had a TIA are at an increased risk of having a stroke so it is important to try to reduce this risk. Without treatment, around one in five people who have had a TIA will go on to have a stroke within a month.
You might be given medication to thin your blood and make it less sticky to reduce your risk of blood clots. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol you might be given medication to reduce and control your levels.
If you have a partial blockage in your carotid arteries you might benefit from surgery to clear it. This operation is called a carotid endarterectomy. Your doctors will discuss your suitability for this procedure with you.
How can I reduce my risk of having a TIA or stroke?
- Stop smoking
- Cut down on how much alcohol you drink
- Eat a healthy diet (cut down on salt and fatty foods)
- Exercise regularly
- Have your blood pressure checked
You will be contacted by the TIA Nurse Specialist upon receiving the referral form from the appropriate source. However, please contact the PRUH and ask for bleep 150 between 08:00 and 16:00.
Please be advised that you should not drive until seen by the TIA Service where you will be advised further on this matter.
IF ANY OF THE SYMPTOMS OCCUR AGAIN, PLEASE CALL AN AMBULANCE FOR IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION
The clinic runs on a daily basis, Monday - Friday, 08:00 - 16:00
Please contact the Princess Royal (main number at the bottom of the page) and ask for bleep 150 - Monday - Friday, 08:00 - 16:00