A patient with a history of stroke asks the nurse to explain the difference between a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and a transient ischemic attack (TIA). The nurse correctly answers

"With a TIA, there is spontaneous resolution of the neurologic deficit."

Explanation

• A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a short period of cerebral ischemia and can be a warning sign of an impending CVA. It is characterized by a brief period of neurologic deficit such as loss of vision, hemiparesis and slurred speech. Due to the transient nature of the ischemia, the brain does not infarct (die) and cognitive symptoms resolve within hours (no deficits 24 hours after onset).

• A large portion of patients who have a TIA will suffer from a CVA and then experience permanent deficits due to infarction of brain tissue.

• Incorrect: A TIA is not permanent and does not have long-term neurologic deficits. A person may have multiple TIAs before having a CVA, but deficits related to a TIA are not permanent.

• Incorrect: CVA will likely cause long-term neurological deficits.

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