Mini stroke


Temporary disruption of blood flow, and oxygen, to a part of the brain

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About TIA's

A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) occurs when the flow of blood into part of the brain is interrupted for a short period. The lack of oxygen can lead to symptoms similar to those of a full stroke, but which pass relatively quickly.

Need to know 

As with a mini stroke, the main symptoms are similar to a stroke, last only for a few minutes and don't cause permanent damage, recurrent TIAs may increase the risk of a stroke:

  • Face – weakness, numbness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg, typically on one side of your body, your eyes may droop or you may not be able to smile.
  • Arms and legs – dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • Speech – slurred or garbled speech, not being able to talk at all, being unable to find words or not understanding what someone says to you.
  • Disturbances of eyesight - blindness in one or both eyes or double vision
  • Headaches - sudden, severe headache with no known cause

In the early stages, a TIA is almost impossible to differentiate from a stroke, so you should treat it as an emergency. Please ensure you attend your nearest emergency department, the NHS has specialist Stroke clinics to with teams experience in treatment people having a TIA or stroke.  

The difference between a TIA and a stroke is that the symptoms of a TIA often pass quickly, within hours or even minutes, and will fully resolve within 24 hours. Even once the symptoms have passed, you'll need an assessment in hospital to confirm you've had a TIA and to discuss treatment to try and reduce your risk of a repeat or even a stroke.

Although a TIA will pass, investigation and treatment are vital. A transient ischaemic attack is often a warning that you're at risk of another TIA, or even a stroke. The extent of this risk may depend on factors such as your age and your medical history.

For strokes, prevention is better than treatment, so your consultant might recommend lifestyle changes after a TIA. Regular exercise, eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and not smoking are all ways you can reduce your risk. In some cases, you might be prescribed medication, or even have surgery to unblock the carotid arteries, the main vessels carrying blood to your brain.

Our Mini stroke locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.