Comprehensive TIA Clinic
Western Neuro and Carondelet Medical Center have joined forces to create a dedicated Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) clinic with the express purpose of providing urgent care to patients that have recently experienced a TIA. Recognizing that TIAs represent an impending stroke in approximately 1/3 of patients, the more quickly a patient is started on an anti-stroke plan, the greater the likelihood of averting a stroke. Indeed, some strokes can be avoided when patients are treated promptly and appropriately after a TIA.
The Western Neuro comprehensive TIA center is dedicated to admitting patients within 24-48 hours of recovery from their TIA, the ideal timeframe for evaluating the causes and potential treatments for the blockage. During the preliminary evaluation, the patient will undergo a series of physical exams and diagnostic testing to determine the cause of the TIA and the risk of future stroke. A treatment plan will be formulated based on the patient’s individual profile and health status.
Treatments for TIA
Treatment is typically not focused on the effects of the TIA itself, as long-term effects are rare. Rather, treatment is primarily directed toward the prevention a future stroke. Therefore, each treatment plan requires a comprehensive and holistic approach to improving the patient’s health, and modifying their behaviors.
First and foremost, if the patient is a smoker, they will be educated about smoking cessation and referred to a smoking cessation program, if needed. Improvements in blood flow and the reduction in risk of stroke is rapid as a patient quits smoking.
Medical and dietary therapies are important as well. Taking prompt steps to reducing high cholesterol and high blood pressure will be a priority after a TIA. Both conditions cause an increased risk of stroke, and may have ultimately contributed to the TIA. Patients will not only be placed on a strict diet, but will be prescribed appropriate medication for their condition. Most patients will also begin a regimen of blood thinning medication to minimize the chances of blood clot formation.
Patient education and monitoring will also be a significant part of the post-TIA treatment plan. The patients (and their family) that understands the principles of stroke prevention and the importance of knowing the signs of a stroke, give themselves a much better chance of preventing a stroke or recovering more completely should a stroke occur. Further, where possible and practical, patient health will be continuously or periodically monitored.
In some cases, patients will be referred for a carotid endarterectomy — the surgical removal of arterial plaque that has built up in the carotid artery, if there is significant potential for blockage. Patients who are not ideal candidates for surgery may have a stent placed to prop open the affected artery.
Our TIA clinic offers a truly specialized service that employs the experience and knowledge of a multidisciplinary team to prevent stroke. With comprehensive, personalized care, most patients can effectively prevent a stroke after a TIA. TIA clinics like ours offer an important and, many times, life-saving resource to high-risk patients.