OBJECTIVES-: The American Heart Association recently redefined TIA to exclude patients with infarction on neuroimaging. Given its advantages, MRI/diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) was recommended as the preferred imaging modality. We determined how frequently MRI/DWI was performed for TIA and ascertained the proportion of clinically defined TIA patients who had ischemic lesions on DWI in our community in 2005. Methods-: All clinically defined TIA cases among residents of a 5-county region around Cincinnati who presented to emergency departments were identified during 2005. Demographics and medical history, whether MRI/DWI was performed, and DWI findings were recorded. Generalized estimating equations were used to compare groups to account for the design of the study and multiple events per patient. Results-: Of 834 TIA events in 799 patients, 323 events (40%) had MRI/DWI performed. Patients who had MRI/DWI were younger (mean, 66 vs 70 years; P=0.03), had less severe prestroke disability (baseline modified Rankin Scale score, 0; 44% vs 34%; P=0.02), were less likely to have previous stroke or TIA (42% vs 56%; P=0.002), and were less likely to have atrial fibrillation (10% vs 16%; P=0.01). Of the 323 events with DWI, 51 (15%) had evidence of acute infarction. Patients with positive DWI were older (75 vs 64 years; P=0.0001) and more likely to have atrial fibrillation (21% vs 7%; P=0.002). Conclusion-: Performing MRI/DWI on all clinically defined TIA patients in our community would reveal more cases of actual infarction but would more than double current use. Future studies should assess whether MRI/DWI is warranted for all TIA patients.
- magnetic resonance imaging
- transient ischemic attack