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Management of E.D. Patients who Present with a Transient Ischemic Attack or. Can We Safely Send TIA Patients Home From the E.D. ??. Edward P. Sloan, MD, MPH Associate Professor Department of Emergency Medicine University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago, IL.

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Can we safely send tia patients home from the e d
Can We Safely Send Ischemic Attack TIA Patients Home From the E.D. ??

Edward P. Sloan, MD, MPH Ischemic Attack Associate ProfessorDepartment of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Illinois College of MedicineChicago, IL

Attending Physician Ischemic Attack Emergency MedicineUniversity of Illinois HospitalOur Lady of the Resurrection HospitalChicago, IL

Global objectives
Global Objectives Ischemic Attack

  • Maximize patient outcome

  • Utilize health care resources well

  • Optimize evidence-based medicine

  • Enhance ED practice

Sessions objectives
Sessions Objectives Ischemic Attack

  • TIA patient cases

  • Review key concepts

  • Consider relevant questions

  • Examine treatment options

  • Develop reasonable Rx strategies

  • Answer the question

Case presentation

Case Presentation… Ischemic Attack

64 year old presents to ED

Trouble using L hand

“Couldn’t grasp cup of coffee or key”

Symptoms lasted for about 30 minutes

Spontaneous resolution, now no sx

Hx DM, smoker

No recent illness

Case presentation1

Case Presentation… Ischemic Attack

75 year old presents to ED

Slurred speech and dim vision

No motor symptoms

Symptoms lasted for 45-60 minutes

Paramedics called by family

Speech slow, but resolving now

Hx “heart trouble”, “bad blood vessels”

Ed tia patients key concepts

ED TIA Patients: Ischemic Attack Key Concepts

Neurological sx common, variable

TIA: Sx due to cerebral ischemia

Some TIA pts have infarcts

A minimal work-up is required

Therapies must be provided

CVAs will occur following TIAs

In-hospital CVAs allow tPA use

Clinical questions

Clinical Questions Ischemic Attack

How do TIA patients present?

How is CNS ischemia assessed?

How are cerebral infarcts Dx’d?

What work-up must be done?

What therapies must be provided?

How often will CVAs occur?

How do we assess admit benefits?

How do tia pts present

How do TIA Pts Present? Ischemic Attack

Multiple symptoms

Motor, sensory or speech problems

Specific cerebrovascular distribution

Loss of function

Loss of vision

Not wavy lines, as in a migraine

All sx occur & resolve at same time

How tia pts do not present

How TIA Pts Do Not Present Ischemic Attack

Loss in global cerebral function


Transient global amnesia

Positive symptoms (ringing in ears)

Sx that come and go differently

What are tia mimics

What Are TIA Mimics? Ischemic Attack

Metabolic abnormalities

Glucose, Hb, hydration, medications


Migraine or temporal arteritis

Seizure disorders

Akinetic seizure or partial lobe epilepsy

CNS space-occupying lesions

ENT, ophthomologic pathology

How is cns ischemia caused

How is CNS Ischemia Caused? Ischemic Attack

Atrial fibrillation

Carotid artery disease

Brain large or small artery disease

How is cns ischemia dx d

How is CNS Ischemia Dx’d? Ischemic Attack

Careful history and physical

Labs to rule out metabolic causes

CT to rule out mass lesions

Resolution of symptoms

TIAs: most last < 30-60 minutes

TIA: < 24 hrs not clinically useful

How are cns infarcts dx d

How Are CNS Infarcts Dx’d? Ischemic Attack

Cerebral infarcts are present in TIA pts AT THE TIME OF THE INITIAL ED EVALUATION

CT: 15-20% cerebral infarction rate

MRI: ~50% have ischemic injury

MRI: ~25% have cerebral infarction

Cerebral infarction tias

Cerebral Infarction & TIAs Ischemic Attack

Transient Sx presentation does not mean the absence of a CVA

Cerebral infarction will have occurred in some TIA pts by the time the symptoms have resolved

Subsequent CVA isn’t the issue

The key is to diagnose “cerebral infarction with transient signs”

Cvas and amis

CVAs and AMIs Ischemic Attack

Resolution of chest pain does not mean a myocardial infarction has not occurred: get an EKG!

Resolution of TIA sx does not mean a cerebral infarction has not occurred: get a CT or MRI!

Tia sx and chest pain

TIA Sx and Chest Pain Ischemic Attack

Cns and cardiac ischemia

CNS and Cardiac Ischemia Ischemic Attack

Cardiac ischemia: PCI, medical Rx

CNS Ischemia: fewer interventions

Intervention need can be assessed in the Emergency Department

Once non-CNS causes excluded, there is the possibility to send the patient home for outpatient Rx

What work up must be done

What Work-up Must Be Done? Ischemic Attack

Careful history and physical

Can the distribution be determined?

Is the pt neurologically intact?


Is there a mass lesion?

Is there a cerebral infarct?

What work up must be done1

What Work-up Must Be Done? Ischemic Attack

Carotid artery imaging

To rule out carotid artery stenosis

Doppler US, MRA or CT angiography

83-86% sensitive for a 70% + lesion


Is there atrial fibrillation?

Is echocardiography useful??

What rx must be provided

What Rx Must Be Provided? Ischemic Attack



Oral anticoagulation

Antiplatelet therapy

Carotid endarterectomy

Risk factor management


Antithrombotics Ischemic Attack

Useful in cardioembolic causes

Long-term oral warfarin in afib

Short-term heparin in afib??

LMW heparin??

Antiplatelet therapy

Antiplatelet Therapy Ischemic Attack

Useful in non-cardioembolic causes

Aspirin 50-325 mg/day

Clopidogrel or ticlopidine

Aspirin plus dipyridamole

Latter two if ASA intolerant or

if TIA while on ASA

Anticoagulation not recommended

Carotid endarterectomy

Carotid Endarterectomy Ischemic Attack

Useful in good surgical candidates

Lesions of 70% + stenosis

TIA within past two years

50-69% lesion, consider risk

Patient surgical risk, stroke risk

Institutional expertise

Timing of surgery not clarified

Risk factor management

Risk Factor Management Ischemic Attack

HTN: BP below 140/90

DM: fasting glucose < 126 mg/dl

Hyperlipidemia: LDL < 100 mg/dl

Stop smoking!

Exercise 30-60 min, 3x/week

Avoid excessive alcohol use

Weight loss: < 120% of ideal weight

How often will cvas occur

How Often Will CVAs Occur? Ischemic Attack

25% have already had an infarct!

They most likely will be the patients who go on to develop a symptomatic stroke with persistent & worsening Sx

Risk stratify and find these pts!!

How often will sx cvas occur

How Often Will Sx CVAs Occur? Ischemic Attack

How many will develop persistent cerebral infarction symptoms?

Kaiser-Permanente Study

1707 TIA CA patients

10.5% stroke rate at 90 days

50% within 48 hours after ED visit

Johnston SC et al, JAMA, Dec 13, 2000. 284:2901-2906

Tia short term prognosis

TIA Short-term Prognosis Ischemic Attack

Acute stroke risk is correlated with 5 risk factors

Age > 60, DM, Sx > 10min

Weakness and speech Sx

Low risk pts: less stroke risk

Lower risk acutely and over time

How do we assess risk

How Do We Assess Risk? Ischemic Attack

Lifestyle risk factors

Co-morbid illnesses

Vasculopathy assessment

Sx duration: longer is worse

Sx type: non-retinal Sx worse

Can we safely send tia patients home from the e d1
Can We Safely Send Ischemic Attack TIA Patients Home From the E.D. ??

Benefits of admission

Benefits of Admission Ischemic Attack


Complete evaluation likely

Risk factor management easier

Lifestyle modification possible

Patient education more extensive

Rapid assessment if CVA occurs

Benefits of discharge

Benefits of Discharge Ischemic Attack

Cost containment

Patient ease and comfort

Hospital infection risk

Outcome has not been addressed

Why go which route

Why Go Which Route? Ischemic Attack

Patient preference

Practitioner preference

Ease with which work-up can be completed from E.D.

Patient compliance

Institutional preference

Observation unit availability

Reimbursement issues

The tpa issue

The tPA Issue Ischemic Attack

“Why not do an out-pt work-up, there’s nothing we can do in the hospital anyways!”

If persistent recurrent Sx occur, tPA can be given within minutes

This is an important issue

It does not, however, drive the standard of care

What do we tell patients

What Do We Tell Patients? Ischemic Attack

You had a small stroke

You will likely have another stroke in the future, possibly very soon

You must take an aspirin daily

You must have further tests done

You must see your MD tomorrow

You must return if these Sx recur!

What do we document

What Do We Document? Ischemic Attack

The exact Sx and their resolution

A detailed neurological exam

Normal speech, vision, and gait

Normal labs, CT (MRI), EKG, and carotid doppler (MRA)

Comprehension of pt instructions

New meds, clear follow-up plan

What do we document1

What Do We Document? Ischemic Attack

Assessment of risk

Rational for disposition

If outpatient disposition, state clearly that the patient is at low risk for subsequent CVA

Can we safely send tia patients home from the e d2
Can We Safely Send Ischemic Attack TIA Patients Home From the E.D. ??

An answer to the question

An Answer to the Question Ischemic Attack


It is possible to send home low risk TIA patients for outpatient observation, further assessment, and continued therapies

Doing so does not fall below a reasonable standard of care

Some thoughts to ponder

Some Thoughts to Ponder Ischemic Attack

Outpatient approach is work

E.D. throughput delayed

Poorly connected pts may suffer

Patients need to stop and think

Admission costs may be justified

If RF and lifestyle changes enhanced

If subsequent stroke risk reduced

More thoughts to ponder

More Thoughts to Ponder Ischemic Attack

Does subsequent stroke risk change based on disposition?

This must be studied prospectively

E.D. observation unit evaluation?

A surgical approach to a medical problem: EM physicians can get the job done quickly


Conclusions Ischemic Attack

Many TIA pts have cerebral infarcts

Acute Dx and Rx reqs are limited

Risk stratification can take place

An outpatient approach is possible

It is a reasonable standard of care

Prospective evaluation of optimal approach is needed


Recommendations Ischemic Attack

Do a comprehensive E.D. work-up

Identify pts with a cerebral infarct

Admit those at highest risk

Disposition others based on consideration of all factors

Assess best practice via an observation unit study

Questions? Ischemic Attack

[email protected]

312 413 7490