What is the role of MRI in the diagnosis of transient ischemic attack (TIA)?

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

MRI is more sensitive than CT for acute ischemia, infarction, previous intracranial bleeding, and other underlying lesions; however, it is less widely available on an acute basis than CT is.

The presence of ischemic lesions on MRI appears to increase the short-term risk of stroke, a finding that highlights the value of this modality in acute risk stratification. [20, 21, 22] In addition, negative DWI in concert with low-risk clinical features can identify patients at minimal short-term stroke risk. [23] Patients with DWI abnormalities, despite low ABCD2 scores (see Risk Stratification Scores), may be at just as high a risk for stroke as patients with high ABCD2 scores but no DWI abnormalities. [24]


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