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Computed tomography in patients with transient ischaemic attacks: when is a transient ischaemic attack not a transient ischaemic attack but a stroke?



Computed tomography in patients with transient ischaemic attacks: when is a transient ischaemic attack not a transient ischaemic attack but a stroke?



Journal of Neurology 237(4): 257-261



In a prospective community-based study, 184 patients with transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) were identified from a study population of about 105,000 between 1981 and 1986. Computed tomography (CT) was attempted in all those with cerebral ischaemic attacks (n = 152, 83%); patients with amaurosis fugax only (n = 32, 27%) were not scanned routinely. Scans were obtained in 120 (79%) of those with cerebral attacks and 12 (38%) of those with amaurosis fugax. The scans were reported by a neuroradiologist who was blinded to the patients' clinical features. Of 120 (27%:95% confidence interval 19-35) scans in patients with cerebral attacks, 32 showed a focal area of hypodensity or cortical loss, but in only 14 (12%:95% confidence interval 6-18) was this in an area of the brain appropriate to the patients' symptoms. There were no significant differences in the clinical features, the duration of attacks or the prognosis (i.e., risk of death, stroke or myocardial infarction) of patients with and without ischaemic lesions on CT. It is concluded that patients with clinically definite TIAs who have a presumed ischaemic and appropriately sited lesion on CT should not be re-classified as having had a stroke.

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Accession: 039648949

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 2391549

DOI: 10.1007/bf00314630


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