Mini Strokes Induce Minor Disability
A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) commonly known as the mini stroke is a warning sign that a real stroke is soon to happen. TIA is different from a stroke as it does not cause the brain tissue to die.
Anew study carried in the American Heart Association Journal Stroke, states that TIA leads to severe disability and the doctors consider it too mild to treat it.
The TIA patients are not treated by clot busting drugs because the condition is considered too mild to treat.
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However, 15 percent of patients had some disability 90 days after a mini stroke. Some patients with minor stroke may benefit from clot-busting drug treatment.
"Our study shows that TIA and minor stroke patients are at significant risk of disability and need early assessment and treatment," said Shelagh Coutts, M.D., lead author of the study at Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. "We should be imaging patients earlier and be more aggressive in treating patients with thrombolysis if we can see a blockage no matter how minor the symptoms are."
According to the researchers, "Thrombolysis is a treatment used to dissolve dangerous clots and restore healthy blood flow to the brain. TIA and minor stroke patients don't typically receive this treatment because the condition is frequently not deemed serious enough to warrant it."
The researchers analyzed nearly 499 patients and they found that nearly 15 percent had at least minor disability 90 days after their first TIA.
With the help of CT scans they learnt that some "mini stroke" patients had narrowed blood vessels in the brain, and others reported ongoing or worsening symptoms. Those patients were more than twice as likely to have disability at 90 days.
Victims of Type 2 diabetes also had the same problem. Women were nearly twice as likely as men to be disabled 90 days after TIA.
"For every second after a mini stroke, the patient's brain may be losing oxygen -- possibly leading to a major event," Coutts said. "If a scan finds that you have a narrowing of a blood vessel in or outside of the brain, you are at a high risk of being disabled."
"The symptoms of a TIA -- abrupt onset of inability to move one side of your body, numbness on one side, dizziness and trouble walking -- may pass quickly," Coutts said. "But, if you experience them, you should immediately go to the hospital, where proper scans can be done. Based on these results we have started a trial in Canada giving clot busting drugs to patients with mild symptoms, but blocked blood vessels in the brain.
"If ignored, these symptoms can lead to death. This is not a benign disease."