TIA tool to help boost diagnosis

A simple recognition tool has been developed that could help GPs accurately diagnose patients with a suspected TIA and reduce the number of inappropriate referrals to TIA clinics.

Accurate identification of TIA is notoriously difficult because a variety of conditions such as seizure and migraine can mimic a TIA.

Risk stratification tools such as the NICE-approved ABCD2 score are available, but have been criticised for only picking up patients with the highest risk of suffering a TIA.

For this latest study, published in QJM Online, the researchers tested a TIA scoring system based on nine risk factors, including history of stroke or TIA, age, duration of symptoms and any loss of consciousness in 3,216 patients.

Overall, they found that the tool correctly identified 97 per cent of patients with a TIA.

Lead researcher Dr Jesse Dawson, from the University of Glasgow, said: 'Clinical scoring systems are already used to facilitate diagnosis of acute stroke and our study shows that a similar score can be used to aid diagnosis of TIA.'

The tool could halve the time it takes to assess TIA, he added.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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