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Mini stroke

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

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

About

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

  • Symptoms of mini stroke icon plus

    As with a stroke, the main symptoms are:

    • Face – your face may drop on one side, your eyes may droop or you may not be able to smile.
    • Arms and legs – raising both arms and holding them up may be difficult due to weakness or numbness; you may also experience this in your legs.
    • 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. In the early stages, a TIA is almost impossible to differentiate from a stroke, so you should treat it as an emergency.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    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.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    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.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

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