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Transient Ischemic Attack


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.


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.

Neuro signs

, or neuro checks show healthcare providers your brain function. They will check how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your strength, balance, vision, and other brain functions may also be tested.

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 healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.


is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm


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


may be given to lower your blood pressure or to keep it at a safe level.


  • A carotid ultrasound shows 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 pictures may show blood flow blockage in your brain. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (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 healthcare providers 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.


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.


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.


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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 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 IBM Watson Health

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Transient Ischemic Attack (Inpatient Care)

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