CT scans ‘can predict risk of stroke’ in TIA patients

All patients should have a computed tomography scan within 24 hours of experiencing mild stroke, or a transient ischemic attack, as it could predict their risk of another stroke. This is according to a new study published in Stroke – a journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers say all patients should receive a CT scan in the 24 hours following a TIA or non-disabling stroke, as the brain images may predict their future risk of stroke.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA), often referred to as a mini-stroke, is when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked temporarily. Symptoms of TIA resemble stroke symptoms, but they often only last a few minutes.

TIA, however, can be an important indicator of a future stroke; approximately 40% of people who have a TIA will go on to have a stroke.

Most patients in the US and Canada receive a computed tomography (CT) scan in the 24 hours following a TIA or a non-disabling stroke – a stroke that has not caused long-term disability.

A CT scan provides cross-sectional images of the brain, allowing a more in-depth analysis of blood circulation and tissue damage.

But the researchers of this latest study – including Dr. Jeffrey J. Perry of the University of Ottawa in Canada – say that all patients who have a mild stroke should receive a CT scan, given how the brain images can predict when patients will be at highest risk of a subsequent stroke.

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