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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013 Jan;34(1):185-90. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A3144. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Intracranial artery stenosis or occlusion predicts ischemic recurrence after transient ischemic attack.

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Department of Neuroradiology, University of Toulouse, Toulouse. France.



Patterns of DWI findings that predict recurrent ischemic events after TIA are well-established, but similar assessments of intracranial MRA findings are not available. We sought to determine the imaging characteristics of MRA that are predictive of early recurrent stroke/TIA in patients with TIA.


We performed a retrospective analysis of 129 consecutive patients with a clinical diagnosis of TIA in whom MR imaging was done within 24 hours of symptom onset. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of >50% stenosis or occlusion of symptomatic intracranial arteries for recurrent stroke/TIA at 7 days after TIA. We used logistic regression analysis to adjust for the clinical ABCD(2) score. We performed this analysis for symptomatic steno-occlusive lesions at any site and symptomatic steno-occlusive lesions on proximal large intracranial arteries (internal carotid artery, vertebral artery, basilar artery, and circle of Willis).


Forty-two (32.5%) patients had acute ischemic lesions on DWI; 16 (12.4%) had significant MRA lesions, of which 11 (8.5%) were on proximal vessels. Nine patients had early recurrence (TIA, 7; minor stroke, 2). Only patients with proximal MRA lesions were at higher risk of early recurrence independent of the ABCD(2) score (adjusted odds ratio, 5.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-27.8; P = .04).


Proximal lesions of cerebral arteries seen on MRA were predictive of recurrent stroke/TIA at 7 days. These findings suggest that MRA could be used to improve the selection of patients with TIA at high risk of early recurrent stroke/TIA.

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