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 Reference Bell's palsy Opens New Window.
- 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 Reference 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:
- Reference 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.
- Reference 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 Reference carotid arteries Opens New Window is suspected, you may have tests such as:
- A Reference Doppler ultrasound.
- A Reference magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA).
- An Reference angiogram of your head and neck. An Reference angiogram can help show Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window the source of clots that cause the TIA.
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:
- Reference Chest X-ray to assess the size and shape of your heart.
- Reference Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) or Reference Holter monitoring or ambulatory EKG to assess heart rhythm.
- Reference Echocardiogram (echo) to examine the shape of the heart chambers and blood flow through them.
- Reference Cholesterol and triglycerides tests to check the level of these blood fats that can increase your risk for blood clots and hardening of the arteries.
You may have other blood tests, such as a Reference complete blood count (CBC), Reference chemistry screen, and Reference prothrombin time based on your age and medical history. Your doctor will use these tests to look for other causes of the TIA.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference February 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation