Many patients with transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are at high risk of stroke within the first few days of onset of symptoms. Emergency physicians and primary care physicians need to assess these patients quickly and initiate appropriate secondary stroke prevention strategies. Recent refinements in diagnostic imaging have produced valuable insight into risk stratification of patients with TIA. Clinical data regarding urgent initiation of antiplatelet therapy specifically in this patient population with non-cardioembolic TIA are limited but promising. This review outlines the diagnostic tools available for rapid assessment of patients presenting with symptoms of TIA and discusses clinical trials that apply to these vulnerable patients.