More than 1 million patients receive a diagnosis of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in the United States each year.1 These patients are at increased risk of stroke during the first few weeks after the initial event, with the greatest risk during the first 2 days.2 Evidence-based secondary preventive measures are available to lower the risk of recurrent ischemic events, but for these measures to be effectively implemented, patients with stroke or TIA must be rapidly and correctly identified. Accurate diagnosis is important because some secondary preventive strategies carry risks of their own and are usually not appropriate for patients who did not have a TIA or stroke.3,4 Patients presenting with motor weakness, aphasia, or prolonged symptoms are at highest risk for recurrent stroke5 and are typically more comprehensively evaluated. Therefore, these patients are more likely to receive a more conclusive diagnosis and are likely to receive secondary prevention strategies promptly.
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McCullough-Hicks ME, Albers GW. Benefits of Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Patients Presenting With Low-risk Transient or Persistent Minor Neurologic Deficits. JAMA Neurol. Published online September 23, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.2963
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