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Minerva Medica 2012 August;103(4):299-311

language: Italian

Neuroimaging and definition of transient ischemic attack

Cerase A. 1, Lazzeretti L 2., Vallone I. M. 1, Ferretti F. 3, Bracco S. 1, Galluzzi P. 1, Gennari P. 1, Monti L. 1, Menci E. 1, Bellini M. 1, Arrigucci U. 1, Cioni S. 1, Romano D. 1, Sanna A. 1, Zandonella A. 1, Acampa M. 4, Tassi R. 4, Martini G. 4, Venturi C. 1

1 UOC NINT Neuroimmagini e Neurointerventistica, Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche e Neurosensoriali, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, Policlinico “Santa Maria alle Scotte”, Siena, Italia;
2 UOSA Diagnostica in Emergenza ed Urgenza, Dipartimento di Emergenza Urgenza e dei Servizi, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, Policlinico “Santa Maria alle Scotte”, Siena, Italia;
3 Statistica Medica, Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia, Università di Siena, Siena, Italia;
4 UOC Stroke Unit, Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche e Neurosensoriali, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, Policlinico “Santa Maria alle Scotte”, Siena, Italia


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AIM:Transient ischemic attack (TIA) has to be considered an “alarm bell” of a more or less severe organic or systemic vasculopathy. Positive findings at neuroimaging means tissue damage. The purpose of this retrospective study was to assess the role of neuroimaging in the management of patients presenting with TIA, and to consider the relative implications.METHODS: In a consecutive series of 82 patients (53 males, 29 females, mean age: 65.9±13.1 years) admitted for TIA, it was possible to review the history and the clinical data of 66 patients, including ABCD2 score, laboratory including plasmatic D-dimer, and neuroimaging data including computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging including diffusion-weighted with apparent diffusion coefficient measure (DWI-ADC) obtained at diagnosis and by a week later (16 by CT, and 50 by DWI-ADC). Thirty-three patients underwent DWI-ADC within 24 hours from symptoms onset. Statistical analysis has been performed by non-parametric tests (χ2 and Mann-Whitney), and logistic regression by a commercially available software.
RESULTS: CT and/or DWI-ADC showed signs of acute ischemic lesions in 23/66 (35%) patients. 12 out of the 35 patients with a 24-hour DWI-ADC follow-up were positive. Statistical analysis showed that positive neuroimaging was significantly associated only with familial history of cardiovascular diseases (P<0.012) and previous TIA/stroke (P<0.046).
CONCLUSION: In this patients series, at least 35% of patients with TIA had a positive neuroimaging, especially DWI-ADC. Positive neuroimaging seems an indipendent factor. Patients with TIA need an early assessment by neuroimaging including DWI-ADC, in order to obtain a correct classification and prognosis.

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