Transient Ischemic Attack vs Stroke – What is the difference?

Let’s explore the differences between a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and a stroke:


1. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA):

  • Also known as a “mini-stroke.”
  • Temporary disruption of blood flow to part of the brain.
  • Symptoms typically last less than an hour, although sometimes they may linger for up to 24 hours.
  • No permanent damage to the brain occurs during a TIA.
  • Imaging tests (such as MRI) do not show an obstruction to blood flow in the brain.
  • Considered a warning sign because it indicates an increased risk of a more serious stroke in the future.
  • Urgent medical attention is still necessary after a TIA to identify underlying causes and reduce stroke risk.


2. Stroke (Cerebrovascular Accident, CVA):

  • Disruption of blood flow to brain tissue.
  • Two main types:

        – Ischemic Stroke: Caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel supplying the brain. Most common type.

        – Hemorrhagic Stroke: Caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.


  •  Symptoms can include:

        – Weakness or numbness (usually on one side of the body).

        – Difficulty speaking or understanding language.

        – Lack of coordination or balance.

        – Sudden, severe headache.

        – Trouble seeing with one or both 



  • Imaging tests (CT or MRI) reveal abnormalities associated with stroke.
  • Stroke recovery depends on the affected brain region and extent of damage.


In summary:

  • TIA: Temporary, no permanent damage, imaging shows no obstruction.
  • Stroke: Longer-lasting symptoms, potential permanent damage, imaging reveals abnormalities.




(1) Stroke vs. TIA or Ministroke: How Do They Differ? – Healthline.

(2) The Difference Between Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and Stroke.

(3) Differences Between a Stroke and a TIA – Verywell Health.

(4) Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – Symptoms and causes.

Verified by Dr. Petya Stefanova