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Why Syndromes of Mini Stroke Should Not Be Ignored?

Posted Apr 16 2010 8:47am
Mini stroke refers to a transient ischemic attack (TIA) in which there is a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain, usually for less than 24 hours. The syndromes of mini stroke, similar to those of a stroke, include dizziness, trouble walking and speaking, as well as paralysis or numbness on one side of the body. These symptoms are frequently mild and resolve quickly, within several minutes to several hours. Therefore, it is easy for people to ignore. However, mini stroke is a warning sign that a larger stroke might be on its way.

Researchers from the Stroke Prevention Research Unit at the University of Oxford reported that mini stroke could lead to a major stroke within 1 week in 1 out of 20 people and should be treated as a medical emergency.

They further pointed out that patients who were immediately treated for mini stroke had almost no risk of a major stroke later on. However, patients who did nothing had an 11-percent risk of a major stroke within 1 week.

The findings of the study, which combined results from 18 different groups of patients, totaling to more than 10,000 people, were published on November 11, 2007 in the Lancet Neurology.

The researchers found that 5 percent of patients had a major stroke within 7 days of a mini stroke. For patients who were treated for a mini stroke at a specialist neurology clinic, only less than 1 percent of them got a major stroke within a week, compared with 11 percent for those who ignored the signs of mini stroke.

They also noted that the risk of stroke reported among patients who were treated urgently in specialist clinics was noticeably lower than risk reported among those who were treated in alternative clinics. These results confirmed that mini stroke is a medical emergency and that urgent treatment in a specialist clinic might substantially reduce the risk of stroke later on.
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