Often, the symptoms and signs of a TIA will have gone away by the time you get to the hospital. A TIA diagnosis may be made based on your medical history alone.
The health care provider will do a complete physical exam to check for heart and blood vessel problems, as well as for problems with nerves and muscles.
The doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your heart and arteries. An abnormal sound called a bruit may be heard when listening to the carotid artery in the neck or other artery. A bruit is caused by irregular blood flow.
Tests will be done to rule out a stroke or other disorders that may cause the symptoms:
- You will almost always have a head CT scan or brain MRI. A stroke may show changes on these tests, but TIAs will not.
- You may have an angiogram, CT angiogram, or MR angiogram to see which blood vessel is blocked or bleeding.
- You may have an echocardiogram if your doctor thinks you may have a blood clot from the heart.
- Carotid duplex (ultrasound) can show if the carotid arteries in your neck have narrowed.
- You may have an EKG and heart rhythm monitoring tests to check for an irregular heartbeat.
Your doctor may do other tests to check for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other causes of, and risk factors for TIAs or stroke.