Transient Ischemic Attack

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is also called a mini-stroke. A TIA happens when blood cannot flow to part of your brain. A TIA lasts a short time, and the effects are gone in less than 24 hours. A TIA does not cause lasting damage, but it may be a warning sign before an ischemic stroke occurs. An ischemic stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked, usually by a blood clot.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Without treatment, you may have a full ischemic stroke. A stroke can cause permanent brain damage and make it hard for you to talk, think, or walk. A stroke can be life-threatening. Report signs of a TIA and get treatment immediately to prevent a stroke.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Neurologic exam:

This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show caregivers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. Caregivers will check how your pupils (black dots in the center of each eye) react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.

Oxygen:

You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your caregiver before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

Heart monitor:

This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Blood pressure: You may need medicine to lower your blood pressure or to keep it at a safe level.

  • Preventing blood clots: You may need to take medicine to thin your blood. Blood thinning medicine helps prevent blood clots from forming in your veins. This medicine makes it easier for a person to bruise and bleed. You will need regular blood tests while taking this medicine. If you have a bleeding disorder or a history of bleeding or blood clots, tell your caregiver. Talk to your caregiver about all of the medicines that you use. Physical activity helps prevent blood clots. Caregivers will help you be as active as possible.

Tests:

  • Carotid ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to show the blood flow in your carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are blood vessels in your neck that carry blood to your brain. A carotid ultrasound checks for narrow or blocked carotid arteries.

  • CT or MRI scan: Caregivers use these pictures to see blood flow blockage in your brain. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have a metal implant.

  • Transesophageal echocardiogram: This is also called a TEE. TEE is an ultrasound that shows pictures of your heart as it beats. You may also need a TEE to check for blood clots inside your heart. You will be given medicine to relax you. Then caregivers put a tube into your mouth and guide it into your esophagus next to your heart. The tube has a small ultrasound sensor that takes the pictures of your heart beating.

Surgery:

Blocked carotid arteries cause poor blood flow to the brain. If your arteries are blocked, you may need a carotid endarterectomy. Surgery may also be needed if the arteries in your heart are blocked.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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