Transient ischemic attack and minor stroke are the most common manifestations of acute cerebrovascular disease: a prospective, population-based study--the Aarhus TIA study

Neuroepidemiology. 2013;40(1):50-5. doi: 10.1159/000341696. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


Background: Severity of acute vascular illness may have changed in the last decades due to improvements in primary and secondary prevention. Population-based data on the severity of acute ischemic cerebrovascular disease are sparse. We aimed to examine incidence, characteristics and severity of acute ischemic cerebrovascular disease in a well-defined population.

Methods: All patients admitted with transient ischemic attack (TIA) or acute ischemic stroke from March 1, 2007, to February 29, 2008, with residence in the Aarhus area, were included. Incidence rates and characteristics of TIA and ischemic stroke were compared.

Results: TIA accounted for 30%, TIA and minor stroke combined for 65% of all acute ischemic cerebrovascular events. Age-adjusted incidence rates of TIA and ischemic stroke were 72.2/100,000 and 129.5/100,000 person-years, respectively. TIA patients were younger than stroke patients (66.3 vs. 72.7 years; p < 0.001). Atrial fibrillation, previous myocardial infarction and previous stroke were significantly more frequent in stroke patients; no differences in other baseline characteristics were found.

Conclusions: Minor events are the most common in ischemic cerebrovascular disease, and may constitute a larger proportion than previously reported. TIA and stroke patients share many characteristics; however, TIA patients are younger and have fewer manifestations of atherosclerotic diseases, indicating a high potential for secondary prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / diagnosis*
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke / diagnosis*
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult