TIA and Minor Stroke

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and stroke

A small minority of the people we interviewed said that they had gone on to have a stroke after their TIA or minor stroke. A few people had already had a stroke before having a TIA or several TIAs later. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment after a TIA is very important, as it reduces the risk of a further TIA or a stroke. There are two main reasons why people may experience a delay in getting treated' either because they themselves do not realise the significance of the symptoms, or because health professionals do not act quickly enough (see ‘Delay in seeking help’, ‘Seeking help – routes to care’ and ‘Understanding TIA/minor stroke’).
Both Michelle and Mike described how their TIA episode had not been picked up as quickly as it could have been. As a consequence they had not been given medication that may have prevented them from going on to have a more serious episode. In Mike’s case, a locum ‘out of hours’ doctor told him to go to see the GP the following morning, but in hindsight Mike realises now that he should have gone straight to hospital and been prescribed medication to take immediately.
Michelle was only in her early 20s when she experienced several episodes that her doctor diagnosed as anxiety attacks, but five months later she had a stroke. She feels that the doctors were not expecting someone of her age to have a stroke and that they didn’t listen to her when she described her initial symptoms.
Yvonne delayed seeing the doctor about the symptoms she experienced and carried on working although she felt very unwell. It was six weeks later when she was referred to the TIA clinic where the CT scan showed that she had had a stroke. She feels now that if she had sought help immediately it might not have been so serious (see ‘Delay in seeking help’, ‘Seeking help – routes to care’ and ‘Getting a diagnosis’).
Ros, Russell and Stella had experienced a stroke before having their TIAs.
Ros had stopped taking the medication that she had been prescribed to lower her cholesterol, and later went on to have a TIA.
See the our section on Stroke for further information.

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Last reviewed June 2017.
Last updated August 2013



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