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TIA patients must be assessed faster

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Many patients who have had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are at increased risk of stroke because they are not assessed soon enough by a specialist, suggest UK researchers.

Current UK guidelines recommend that all patients who have had a TIA should be assessed within seven days of the start of symptoms. Yet a study by the University of Manchester found this happened in only 35% of TIA services, with some patients having to wait up to 12 days for a clinic appointment.

The authors said the risk of stroke, recurrent TIA, cardiac hospitalisation or death is as high as 25% up to three months following a TIA. Of the 711 patients they studied, all of which had sustained a TIA or minor stroke in the past 15 days and had attended a TIA ‘rapid access’ clinic, 100 had a further TIA and 25 had a non-fatal stroke within three months.

Study author, Craig Smith, from the University of Manchester’s clinical neuroscience group, said some studies have put the number of people suffering a major stroke within a week of a TIA as high as 10%, rendering the seven-day guideline figure inadequate.

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