There’s nothing mini about a ‘mini stroke’

Symptoms of mini strokes are the same as strokes, but may pass in a few minutes or hours — Quick treatment is still critical

Mini stroke symptoms can be the same as a stroke, but may pass after a few minutes or hours. However, “mini stroke” isn’t an accurate name for what’s happening — it’s neither mini nor is it a stroke. The correct medical term is “transient ischemic attack,” and there’s no way for you to know on your own if it’s a stroke.

If you don’t treat it as an emergency, you could be allowing a stroke to kill 32,000 brain cells by the second. If the TIA symptoms pass, it can trick you into thinking you’re going to be fine. You may not be — what you may think of as a regular stroke can follow within a day or two for a TIA patient. About 1 in 5 people who have a suspected TIA will have a stroke within 90 days, according to the American Stroke Association. 


Norton Healthcare operates the area’s largest stroke care system and is ready 24/7 to treat patients. If you are having symptoms of a stroke — or you are with someone who is — call 911 immediately!

Learn the BE FAST Symptoms

Like a stroke, a TIA is caused by a blood clot or narrowed artery. Unlike a stroke, the blockage of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances clears relatively quickly. But the source of the blockage is still in your system and could easily restrict blood flow again, causing a future stroke.

Quick stroke treatment for TIA that helps allow for a steady blood supply in the brain can mean the difference between full recovery and lifelong complications.

“Anyone who experiences stroke symptoms needs immediate evaluation. The sooner the patient receives treatment, the better the chance of having a good recovery. We are only able to offer medical treatment for acute stroke if the person comes to the hospital within 4 1/2 hours from when they start to experience symptoms,” said Danny R. Rose Jr., M.D., a Norton Neuroscience Institute neurologist specializing in stroke. “People should not wait to see if their symptoms get better on their own. Even if you have symptoms that resolved at home, you still need to seek care immediately, as your symptoms may come back at any time.”

If physicians find that your symptoms were a TIA and not a stroke, they can take steps to help ward off the stroke that may be coming.

TIAs can be difficult to diagnose and require close monitoring. DNV has certified Norton Brownsboro Hospital as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, providing the highest-level treatment for serious stroke events — with the resources, staff and training to handle complex cases.

Don’t ignore TIA symptoms

If you or someone you’re with has signs of TIA or a stroke, call 911. If you think you’ve experienced a TIA in the past, talk to your primary care provider or neurologist.

TIA risk factors

TIA risk factors are very similar to stroke risk. Addressing factors you can control is an important part of stroke prevention.

  • High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a one of the top risk factors for a TIA. High blood pressure can weaken blood vessels, causing ruptures or blockages in the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Atrial fibrillation. This irregular heartbeat condition increases your risk of developing blood clots in the heart that can break off and follow the bloodstream to the brain. 
  • Carotid artery stenosis is a narrowing of a carotid artery. These arteries run through your neck and supply blood to the brain. If narrowed, or clogged with plaque, they restrict blood flow and can trigger a TIA.
  • Diabetes and the associated high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and increase risk of forming blood clots.
  • High cholesterol can contribute to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can restrict blood flow or break off as clots that can travel to the brain.
  • Smoking significantly increases your risk of a TIA or stroke. Smoking narrows your arteries, increasing the likelihood of a clot.

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