Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is transient ischemic attack diagnosed?

Your child’s physician may use a number of procedures to diagnose a transient ischemic attack (TIA):

  • imaging of the brain and blood vessels in the head and neck using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography) and catheter angiography protocols designed here at Boston Children’s
  • a cardiology evaluation to look at the heart for cardiac conditions that could lead to TIA
  • blood tests, including a panel of tests associated with bleeding or clotting disorders (thrombophilia testing), inflammatory disorders or metabolic disorders
  • genetic studies to look for hereditary risk factors for blood clots
  • a transcranial ultrasound assessment to assess blood flow in the brain

How is a TIA treated?

Depending on the underlying cause of the TIA, your child’s care team may recommend treatments to help prevent a full-blown stroke from occurring. For example, some causes of TIAs, such as malformations of the blood vessels in the brain, can be treated at the Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center, using surgical or catheter-based techniques. However, the team at the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center can use medical therapies for other causes of TIA.