Half of Mini Strokes Lead to Major Stroke Within Hours

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Mini Stroke
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New research has found that half of mini-strokes lead to major stroke within hours of onset of symptoms. A new study from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom highlights the importance of rapid treatment for signs of mini-stroke, also called a TIA (transient ischemic attack). Researchers viewed databases to find that half of mini strokes result in a major stroke within twenty-four hours.

Scientists analyzed the medical records of 1,247 people who experience mini-strokes to determine a period when major stroke occurred. They found that thirty-five individuals had a major stroke, after suffering a mini stroke, within twenty-four hours.

Symptoms of mini-stroke include dizziness, slurred speech, loss of balance, and weakness in the arms or legs. Symptoms may last only a few minutes, or may take twenty-four hours to resolve. It is difficult to tell whether a major stroke is imminent. May people dismiss short-lived symptoms of TIA, or mini-stroke, and do not seek immediate medical treatment.

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The study also revealed that risk of a second stroke increases six hours after a stroke occurs. The risk increases another one percent within twelve hours, and five percent after twenty-four hours.

Peter Rothwell, MD, PhD, FRCP, FMedSci, with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom says, “Our study highlights the need for someone who is experiencing the symptoms of a mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack to get to an emergency room fast." Even a minor stroke, with few symptoms significantly increases the risk that a major stroke will follow.

The researchers note that mini-strokes lead to major disabling and even fatal strokes, and require immediate intervention. The study is the first to show that mini-stroke can lead to major stroke within twenty-four hours. The results show the importance of seeking immediate treatment for symptoms of mini stroke.

American Academy of Neurology

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