Mini strokes elevate death risk

Updated: Nov 16, 2011, 13:28 PM IST

Sydney: People who suffer stroke-like attacks have a mortality rate 20 percent higher than the general population.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, over 20,000 adults hospitalised between 2000-2007 with a transient ischemic attack (TIA) were surveyed for mortality rates.

A TIA occurs when blood flow to the brain ceases for some time, leaving the victim with stroke-like symptoms for a short period. But it could also foreshadow a real stroke if preventative steps are not taken, reports the journal Stroke.

University of New South Wales School of Public Health and Community Medicine`s Melina Gattellari, who led the study, said nine years after a TIA, mortality rates are 20 percent higher than for those who do not experience an attack.

Not only that, 50 percent of patients with a TIA had died after nine years. TIA has long been recognised as a risk factor for early stroke, according to a New South Wales statement.

John Worthington, associate professor and Gattellari`s Wales` colleague, said the study results emphasised the long-term effects of a TIA event on mortality.

"It is time to re-examine the intensity of secondary prevention that we provide, even in people with a distant history of TIA," he said.

"The brief stroke-like symptoms of transient ischemic attack are a warning of poor outcomes and an opportunity for doctors and patients to intervene before a more deadly event," he said.

Gattellari said, given the research findings, there needed to be more emphasis placed on managing cardiovascular risk factors among those who experience a TIA.

IANS