What is the role of brain imaging in the workup of transient ischemic attack (TIA)?

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

Brain imaging is recommended within 24 hours of symptom onset. Although magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is preferred, noncontrast computed tomography (CT) of the head is a reasonable first choice when MRI is not readily available. [1, 8, 4]

The cerebral vasculature should be imaged on an urgent basis, preferably at the same time as the brain. Brain imaging can identify an area of ischemia in as many as 25% of patients, and TIA mimics may be identified as well. Vessel imaging can identify a stenosis or occlusion that may warrant early intervention.


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