There are about 1.5 Million strokes in the US each year. About half of these are severe, requiring immediate hospitalization and often aggressive intervention. On the other hand, approximately 750,000 strokes occur with only passing symptoms. These mild strokes or Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) are alarming, but often result in little or no deficit.
TIAs are critically important warning signs of a potential devastating stroke. TIA symptoms must not be ignored. The Dent Mild Stroke/TIA clinic is run by experts in stroke neurology that have fine tuned the diagnosis and treatment of this disease, resulting in a significantly reduction in the risk of a recurrent stroke.
Screening and Diagnosis
Several diagnostic tools are used to determine the cause of the patient’s TIA. These include MRI to identify the extent of any brain damage; MR and CT angiography and perfusion scans to assess blood flow to the brain and identify plaque in blood vessels that feed the brain; platelet function testing to understand the clotting characteristics of blood and to determine the most effective medication; neuropharmacologic assessments to avoid drug interactions that may counteract treatment efficacy; and cardiac monitoring to evaluate heart function.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Angiography can detect malformed blood vessels, narrowing of the blood vessels and aneurysms. Regular CT scans can detect a hemorrhagic stroke.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can detect brain tissue damage caused by an ischemic stroke, and can also be used to examine blood vessels in the brain and neck.
- Carotid Ultrasound testing is used to detect narrowing or obstructions in the carotid arteries, a common precursor to stroke. Carotid Ultrasound with TransCranial Doppler is a non-invasive exam of the carotid and vertebral arteries of the neck used to detect narrowing or obstructions, providing crucial information about blood flow to the brain.
- Anti-Platelet Therapy Monitoring measures the effectiveness of common anti-platelet (anti-clotting) drugs to help prevent future strokes or TIAs. Because up to 20% of patients do not achieve the predicted protection from these drugs, we monitor their effectiveness through regular blood tests to ensure patients are receiving the desired protection.