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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

A transient ischaemic attack (commonly known as a TIA or mini-stroke) has symptoms that are similar to a stroke. The difference between a TIA and a stroke is that symptoms in a TIA go away within minutes to hours, but symptoms in a stroke persist. Having a TIA can put you at higher risk of having a stroke.

A TIA isn't a minor stroke. A minor stroke is when the symptoms are non-disabling, or minor, but still persist.

Symptoms of TIA

Typical symptoms of TIA:

These symptoms are also present in someone who has a stroke.


If you or someone near you shows symptoms of a stroke or a TIA, don't wait to see if the symptoms go away – call 111 for an ambulance immediately.

It's impossible early in the symptoms to tell if they represent a TIA, a mild stroke or a major stroke. Many people who have TIAs go on to have a stroke one to two days after. Urgent treatment of early symptoms can stop a stroke from worsening and can also prevent a TIA leading to a stroke.

Cardiovascular risk assessments

To find out if you're at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, see Cardiovascular risk assessment. This page also gives advice about reducing your risk.

On the next page: Diagnosing a TIA

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2019.

Page reference: 597783

Review key: HITIA-17463