What are the limitations of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) in assessing clinical deficits in transient ischemic attack (TIA)?

Updated: Dec 03, 2018
  • Author: Ashish Nanda, MD; Chief Editor: Andrew K Chang, MD, MS  more...
  • Print

The NIHSS is a 42-point scale, with minor strokes usually being considered to result in a score lower than 5. An NIHSS score higher than 10 correlates with an 80% likelihood of visual flow deficits on angiography. Yet, discretion must be used in assessing the magnitude of the clinical deficit; for instance, if a patient’s only deficit is being mute, the NIHSS score will be 3. Additionally, the scale does not measure some deficits associated with posterior circulation strokes (eg, vertigo and ataxia).

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!