Transient ischaemic attack - Obtaining a differential diagnosis and predicting patient risk
Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is common and the total number of TIAs is likely to increase with the ageing of the population. It is a heterogeneous condition with a range of possible presentations, making diagnosis challenging. The differential diagnosis includes other serious conditions, so accurate, early diagnosis is important. The risk of stroke early after TIA has recently been shown to be approximately 5% at seven days and 10-15% at three months, while overall cardiovascular risk is increased in the longer term. The ABCD2 score is a prediction tool that can be rapidly applied at the time of presentation and reliably predicts early risk of stroke. The vascular territory, aetiology of TIA and findings on cerebral imaging can also be used to predict early risk of stroke, but the degree of interaction between all these factors is uncertain. © TOUCH BRIEFINGS 2009.