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The relation between questions indicating transient ischaemic attack and stroke in 20 years of follow up in men and women in the Renfrew/Paisley Study


STUDY OBJECTIVE Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is often a precursor to stroke, so identification of people experiencing TIA could assist in stroke prevention by indicating those at high risk of stroke who would benefit most from intervention for other stroke risk factors. The objective of this study was to investigate whether answers to a simple questionnaire for TIA could predict the occurrence of stroke in the following 20 years.

DESIGN Prospective cohort study, conducted between 1972 and 1976, with 20 years of follow up.

SETTING Renfrew and Paisley, Scotland.

PARTICIPANTS 7052 men and 8354 women aged 45–64 years at the time of screening completed a questionnaire and attended a physical examination. The questionnaire asked participants if they had ever, without warning, suddenly lost the power of an arm, suddenly lost the power of a leg, suddenly been unable to speak properly or suddenly lost consciousness. These four questions were taken as indicators of TIA and were related to subsequent stroke mortality or hospital admission.

MAIN RESULTS For women, each question was significantly related to stroke risk, whereas for men only the question on loss of power of arm was significantly related to stroke risk. Men and women answering two or more questions positively had double the relative rate of stroke compared with men and women answering none of the questions positively, even after adjusting for other risk factors for stroke.

CONCLUSIONS A simple questionnaire for TIA could help predict stroke over 20 years of follow up. Targeting men and women who report TIA with early treatment could help to prevent strokes from occurring.

  • prospective study
  • stroke

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  • Funding: funding was provided by Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, and the Stroke Association.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.