The pathophysiology of TIAs is thought to be due to reversible episodes of focal brain ischemia caused by the same mechanisms as in acute ischemic stroke:
- Cardioembolic disease (commonly atrial fibrillation)
- Large vessel disease (commonly atherosclerotic disease of the carotid arteries or vertebrobasilar arteries)
- Small vessel disease (lacunar stroke syndromes commonly due to long-standing hypertension and diabetes)
Common symptoms include hemi-weakness of the face, hand, arm, or leg, hemi-sensation loss, aphasia, dysarthria, dysphagia, dizziness, diplopia, monocular vision loss, and difficulty walking. Findings fit within a specific vascular territory or stroke syndrome.
Certain populations, such as children, are less likely to be affected; however, TIA / stroke should be considered in young patients with Moyamoya disease, congenital heart disease, bacterial endocarditis, sickle cell anemia, mitochondrial disease, or homocystinuria. Patients taking oral contraceptives or estrogen may be at a higher risk at a younger age.
Related topics: drug-induced stroke, cerebral stroke, cerebellar stroke