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HealthInfo Canterbury

Diagnosing a TIA


If you think you have had a TIA, you need to see a doctor right away. The greatest risk of stroke is in the first 24 hours after a TIA has occurred. Your options are your usual GP, the GP after-hours service or the Hospital Emergency Department. But act now. Don't delay.

When you visit your GP, you will be asked questions about your symptoms and what happened, and you will have an examination. Depending on various risk factors, your doctor will either send you to hospital for tests and treatment, or will arrange for you to have some tests and start some treatments without you needing to go to hospital.

Tests you might need include:

If doctors suspect that you have had a TIA you'll need urgent treatment to reduce the risk of stroke. This usually means starting medications to prevent blood clots, and reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you're already taking medicine, your doctor could suggest increasing the dose.

After starting your treatment, your doctor will arrange tests to confirm the diagnosis. Then your doctor will discuss the best long-term treatment strategies with you. Your GP may also talk to you about lifestyle changes that you can make to further reduce your risk of having a stroke, such as losing weight, or quitting smoking. It's important that you don't drive for at least a month after a TIA.

On the next page: Self-care after a TIA

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2019.

Page reference: 54527

Review key: HITIA-17463