A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an episode of reversible neurologic deficit caused by temporary focal central nervous system hypoperfusion. TIA is a medical emergency. Because patients with TIA in the emergency department (ED) have a high risk for stroke within the next 48 hours, it is imperative for the clinician to recognize this golden opportunity to prevent a disabling stroke. This article reviews our conceptual understanding of TIA, its definition, diagnosis, ways to stratify stroke risk, the acute management and disposition in the ED, and the potential future role of diagnostic biomarkers.
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