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

M Dennis, J Bamford, P Sandercock, A Molyneux, C Warlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-61
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Volume237
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1990

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Aged
  • Blindness
  • Carotid Artery Diseases
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency

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