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March 1986

Clinical Predictors of Cardiac and Arterial Lesions in Carotid Transient Ischemic Attacks

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Clinical Neurological Sciences (Drs Bogousslavsky, Hachinski, and Barnett), Medicine (Dr Boughner), and Radiology (Drs Fox and Viñuela), University of Western Ontario, London. Dr Bogousslavsky is on leave from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland. Drs Hachinski and Boughner are research associates of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(3):229-233. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520030021006

• In 205 patients with carotid transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) who underwent full angiographic and cardiac investigations, we found that ipsilateral carotid bruit and triggering of TIA by exertion or standing up suggested a carotid lesion. Angina pectoris or palpitations at onset of TIA suggested a cardiac source of emboli. Patients with only one TIA, multiple identical attacks, progression of symptoms over minutes, and appropriate infarct on computed tomograms (28%) were likely to show a potential arterial or cardiac cause for the TIAs in subsequent investigations. Transient monocular blindness correlated with carotid occlusion, but the severity of the carotid lesion did not influence the duration and repetition of attacks. Transient ischemic attacks in multiple territories, identical attacks, and multiple or silent infarcts on computed tomograms occurred equally in the patients with arterial lesions and those with cardiac lesions. These findings suggest that only a few, albeit important, conclusions regarding etiology can be drawn from the clinical characteristics of TIAs.

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