Background: Patients with transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke generally receive, besides secondary prevention, no regular follow up care after discharge directly home from the Emergency Room or TIA outpatient clinic; because it is believed that they will experience no consequences.
Objectives: To explore whether the TIA and minor stroke patients have persistent problems due to the event.
Methods: This study has a cross-sectional, comparative non-randomized, exploratory design. Patients with TIA or minor stroke, not requiring hospital admission, and a control group of stroke patients, recently discharged home, were selected and interviewed with a questionnaire by telephone or home visit, between one and eight months after the event. Patients with angina pectoris (AP) were recruited as a second control group.
Results: Data showed that 51% of the TIA and minor stroke patients and 71% of the stroke patients experienced five or more problems, as opposed to 32% of patients with AP. Between 39 and 49% of the TIA, minor stroke and the stroke patients reported cognitive and communicative difficulties. Moreover, the TIA and minor stroke patients had more cognitive deficits (n = 27, 49%) and communicative limitations (n = 23, 42%) than the AP group (n = 7, 10% and n = 4, 6%, respectively).
Conclusion: About half of the TIA and minor stroke patients experienced problems regarding cognition and communication, which were specific to the event. General practitioners should be aware of these potential problems and monitor patients regularly. Future research should focus on prognostic indicators to identify patients at risk.
- General practice
- transient ischaemic attack
- minor stroke
- cognitive function