An exploration of the UK unpaid carer's world

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or "mini stroke" is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.

The disruption in blood supply results in a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can cause sudden symptoms similar to those of a stroke, such as speech and visual disturbance, and numbness or weakness in the face, arms and legs.

However, a TIA does not last as long as a stroke. The effects often only last for a few minutes or hours and fully resolve within 24 hours.

Signs and symptoms

The main symptoms of a TIA can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
  • Arms  the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all, despite appearing to be awake.
  • Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.
source with video here   Google

1 Nov 2016

Carers come to the house for 45 minutes at 1000 and for 30 minutes at 1930.

After ten minutes this morning, the carer shouted for help.  Teresa was on the edge of the bed, immobile, speechless and in  a state of stupor. My first dreadful reaction was that she was dying.  The carer phoned 999 while I tried to resuscitate Teresa.  She was rigid and her eyes were in the top of her sockets

After a long ten minutes of speak to me etc and promoting facial and left-arm circulation, Teresa slowly began to react.  Within half an hour, she was able to answer simple questions about her condition. Fifteen minutes later, Teresa was able to humorous-ly exaggerate smiling and gritting her teeth as requested during the paramedic tests. 

The paramedic concluded that it could be a mini-stroke, or caused by low blood pressure. 

The full range of tests was carried out at A&E including a CT scan.  After five hours, the result was a TIA near-miss* and take an Asprin every day. 
* compare later

Returned home at 1640.  At 1715, Teresa reported feeling the same as in the morning just before the black-out.  She was unable to elaborate.  Local GP came at 1830 and conducted a long set of tests. Conclusion, in effect, hope for the best.  No reason to return to A&E.

2 Nov

So far so good. Back to normal, I hope.  Reminders about a visit to the TIA Clinic on 3 Nov.  Daycare cancelled.

3 Nov - see  6-item Cognitive Impairment Test here

3 Nov

The Tia Clinic consultant* confirmed TIA.  A Carotid Dopler scan here was carried out.  The A&E Asprin was eliminated from medication.

Teresa is back to normal.  However, that's a loaded word.  If it's possible to abstract a complicated situation, Teresa is 65% today versus 100% five years ago.  Stock-taking is not a preferred activity but it is necessary at least once a year.

* As good as he was with Teresa, he is a good example of healthcare professionals who can't see the wood for the trees.  Without any words to Teresa to test the water, he immediately went into Does she take sugar? mode.  When he spoke to Teresa later it was if he had used a loud-hailer. 

More at 3 here. An appointment with a consultant re Teresa's hip problem included him trying to move her onto an Xray bed.  He grabbed her ankles and heaved her over.  More screams.

The best thing learnt is that a CT scan in Nov 2104 was compared with the latest one here and there is no marked difference in the fronto-temporal lobes from which Teresa derives fronto-temporal dementia and semantic dementia.

pagetop        Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) here  see  6-item Cognitive Impairment Test here

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