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Neurology. 2005 Aug 23;65(4):513-7.

Silent ischemia in minor stroke and TIA patients identified on MR imaging.

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  • 1Seaman Family MR Centre, Foothills Hospital, Calgary, Alberta T2N 2T9, Canada.



In a general population of patients with stroke, the rate of new MRI lesions at 1 week was much higher than expected. With patients with minor stroke and TIA having a higher risk of recurrent clinical events, the authors examined whether patients with minor stroke and TIA also had a high rate of asymptomatic lesions on repeat MRI scanning.


Patients with minor stroke and TIA presenting within 12 hours of symptom onset with a NIH Stroke Scale score less than six, who had a baseline MRI and a 1-month follow-up, were enrolled in this study. The follow-up study was examined for new diffusion-weighted imaging lesions as compared to the baseline study. Clinical or MRI factors predicting recurrent lesions were examined.


A total of 143 patients were enrolled and 14 patients (9.8%; 95% CI 5.4, 15.9) had MR evidence of new lesions at 30 days. Six of these new lesions were clinically asymptomatic (42.9%; 95% CI 17.7, 71.1). A trend to increased likelihood of new lesions at 30 days was seen with progressing baseline scan lesion number (none [2.2%], solitary [12.9%], multiple [19.8%]: p = 0.046). Patients whose mechanism of stroke was large artery or cardioembolic were the most likely to have new lesions on follow-up MRI.


Minor stroke and TIA are associated with a 10% risk of new lesions on MRI and half of these new lesions are asymptomatic. This risk is lower than seen in more severely affected patients with stroke. Patients with multiple lesions at baseline are at an increased risk for new ischemic lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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