Stroke and transient ischaemic attack in over 16s: diagnosis and initial management

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence


  • Stroke is a major health problem in the UK. It accounts for around 11% of deaths, results in significant morbidity in people who survive, and represents a substantial health and resource burden. Symptoms of stroke include numbness, weakness or paralysis, slurred speech, blurred vision, confusion and severe headache. A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is defined as stroke symptoms and signs that resolve within 24 hours
  • This guideline covers interventions in the acute stage of a stroke (‘acute stroke’) or TIA. Most of the recommendations relate to interventions in the first 48 hours after onset of symptoms, although some interventions up to 2 weeks are covered. There is evidence that rapid diagnosis, admission to a specialist stroke unit, and immediate brain imaging and use of thrombolysis where indicated can all contribute to a better outcome for patients. For people who have had a TIA, rapid assessment for risk of subsequent stroke allows appropriate treatment to be initiated to reduce the likelihood of stroke occurring

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