TIA patients need more diagnostic testing
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 28, 2005
Patients who have transient ischemic attacks receive less aggressive diagnostic testing, treatment and education compared with stroke patients, which is a missed opportunity to prevent permanent disability or death, researchers reported at the American Stroke Assn.'s International Conference 2005 held in New Orleans in early February.
About one-third of people who have TIAs will go on to have a major stroke within five years unless they have preventive therapy.
The retrospective study evaluated diagnostic tests, therapy and education of 91 TIA patients, compared with 94 stroke patients. Patient's average age was 73; most were white, and 58% were women.
TIA patients received less diagnostic testing than did stroke patients, but nearly all TIA and stroke patients underwent a brain CT scan. An MRI was performed on 69% of TIA patients and 72% of stroke patients.
Ultrasound tests, which are important in identifying stroke risk and planning therapeutic interventions, were performed in a much lower percentage of TIA patients than stroke patients. Of the TIA patients, 34% had echocardiography, compared with 60% of stroke patients.
"All the diagnostic tests performed on stroke patients should be performed on TIA patients, because TIA represents a ticking time bomb," said Bhuvaneswari Dandapani, MD, medical director of the stroke center at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Fla., and lead author of the study.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/02/28/hlbf0228.htm.