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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIAs)

Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute

The stroke team at UT Southwestern Medical Center is available 24/7 to provide rapid evaluation of transient ischemic attack (TIA) symptoms and works with patients to prevent future strokes. 

As the only Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in North Texas, we offer every option available to patients who have experienced a TIA. We’re prepared to make a quick and comprehensive diagnosis and begin immediate treatment.

Leading Approaches to Stroke Prevention

A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, starts like a stroke, producing stroke-like symptoms (such as numbness or weakness). However, a TIA resolves within a few minutes or up to 24 hours without leaving any residual effects. It’s often called a mini-stroke but can also be considered a warning stroke because about one-third of people who have a TIA will later have a more severe stroke. 

Stroke experts at UT Southwestern work with each patient to identify the cause of his or her TIA and reduce risk for a future smoke. 

UT Southwestern’s Robert D. Rogers Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center is certified by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The only dual-certified hospital system in the nation, UT Southwestern received the designation in recognition of our team's unique offerings that provide patients with stroke the best possible chance of recovery.

Diagnosis of Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Because the symptoms of a TIA don’t last, a doctor might initially diagnose it based on a description of symptoms and medical history. 

The next step is to diagnose the cause of the TIA in an effort to prevent future strokes. Causes can include:

  • Carotid artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking


Treatment focuses on addressing the cause of the TIA to prevent an actual stroke. For example, physicians might prescribe:

  • Antiplatelet agents or anticoagulants to prevent blood clots
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Cholesterol-lowering medication 

When carotid artery disease is the cause, we might recommend surgery to clear out the fatty deposits that have narrowed the carotid artery in the neck before another TIA or an actual stroke can occur.

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