Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

What Is It?

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an episode of stroke-like symptoms. It usually lasts less than one hour. A TIA is sometimes called a ministroke.

During a TIA, circulation to a part of the brain is interrupted briefly, then restored. This interruption can be caused by:

  • A narrowing of a brain artery because of atherosclerosis.

  • A small floating blood clot. This clot enters the bloodstream from somewhere else in the body, often the heart. It temporarily blocks a brain artery.


Symptoms of a TIA are the same as those of stroke. However, TIA symptoms usually last for less than one to two hours. Most TIAs actually last only five to 20 minutes.

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