Send to

Choose Destination
Stroke. 2008 Nov;39(11):3096-8. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.514562. Epub 2008 Aug 7.

Higher ABCD2 score predicts patients most likely to have true transient ischemic attack.

Author information

Stroke Sciences Group, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0114, USA.



Some patients diagnosed with transient ischemic attack (TIA) in the emergency department may actually have alternative diagnoses such as seizure, migraine, or other nonvascular spells. The ABCD2 score has been shown to predict subsequent risk of stroke in patients with TIA diagnosed by emergency physicians, but perhaps high ABCD2 scores simply separate those patients with true TIA from those with alternative diagnoses. We investigated this hypothesis in a cohort of patients with TIA identified in the emergency department whose records were reviewed by an expert neurologist.


Among patients diagnosed by emergency physicians with TIA in 16 hospitals in the Kaiser-Permanente Medical Care Plan over a 1-year period ending February 1998 (before publication of prediction rules), an expert neurologist reviewed all records for those in which the diagnosis of TIA was considered questionable by a medical records analyst and determined whether the spell was likely to represent a true TIA. Subsequent strokes within 90 days were identified. ABCD2 scores were calculated for all patients and 2-sided Cochrane-Armitage trend tests were used to assess subsequent risk of stroke.


Of the 713 patients reviewed by the expert neurologist, 642 (90%) were judged to likely have experienced a true TIA. Ninety-day stroke risk was 24% (95% CI, 20% to 27%) in the group judged to have experienced a true TIA and 1.4% (0% to 7.6%) in the group judged to not have a true TIA (P<0.0001). ABCD(2) scores were higher in those judged to have a true TIA compared with others (P=0.0001). In the group judged to have a true TIA, 90-day stroke risk increased as ABCD2 score increased (P<0.0001); there was no relationship between ABCD2 score and stroke risk in those judged unlikely to have had a TIA (P=0.73).


Among patients diagnosed by emergency department physicians with TIA, higher ABCD2 score was associated with a greater likelihood that the diagnosis was confirmed on expert review. The predictive power of the ABCD2 model is therefore partially explained by identification of those patients likely to have experienced a true TIA, an important aspect of the score when used by nonneurologists. However, higher ABCD2 scores still remained predictive of 90-day stroke rate in the group of patients judged to have a true TIA by an expert neurologist.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center