A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a symptom of underlying vascular disease that requires prompt, accurate diagnosis to prevent its possible complications of stroke, myocardial infarction or death. This article presents the clinical features, pathophysiology, clinical course and management of TIAs.
Study of the pathophysiology includes a review of normal physiology of the cerebral vascular system, as well as age-related physiologic changes that put the elderly at increased risk for TIAs. The management plan presented includes reduction of risk factors, patient education, physician referral, and medical and/or surgical treatment. Controversies over medical and surgical treatment are briefly examined.