Transient ischaemic attack case study Essay Example

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Question 1


According to Sanders (2011), transient ischemic attack can basically be described as a sudden loss of the neurological functions for a short period usually for few minutes to less than 24 hours by which a complete recovery without neurological deficit is realized.

Also termed as a mini-stroke, Caplan (2009) highlights that transient ischemic attack is often associated with ischemic stroke, which is the type of stroke Mrs. Smith is most likely to have suffered. According to Alguire (2009), Ischemic stroke generally occurs when arteries leading to an individual’s brain are narrowed or sometimes blocked, hence leading to severe reduction of blood flow, also known as ischemia. The common types of ischemic strokes are thrombotic and embolic strokes (Smeltzer, 2010).

However, as highlighted in the case study, Mrs.Smith likely suffered specifically from the thrombotic type of ischemic stroke. As highlighted in the case study, Mrs. Smith has a history of hypertension where her blood pressure is indicated to be 145/90 mmHg. According to Haiken (2012), this is basically a stage one hypertension, indicating a higher-than-normal blood pressure in her arteries, which increases risks associated with heart attacks as well as stroke.Mrs. Smith further presented various symptoms including blurred vision, difficulty in speaking and dizziness. These symptoms are quite likely to be those of thrombotic type of ischemic stroke which generally include dizziness/confusion, slurred speech, visual disturbance which may lead to unexpected loss of sight, headache (less common), severe numbness, weakness/paralysis of the body and coordination problems. Similar to the case study, these symptoms often last for a period less than 24 hours.


In conclusion, and based on the above analysis, it can be argued that Mrs. Smith is probably an ischemic stroke victim whose specific symptoms highlight the presence of thrombotic stroke.

Question 2


As highlighted by the National Stroke Association (2013), anyone can be attacked by stroke regardless of gender, race or age.However, these chances increase if an individual has particular risk factors/criteria that may lead to a stroke. The National Stroke Association (2013) further highlights that there are two different categories of risk factors: controllable risk factors and uncontrollable risk factors.

In the case study, Mrs. Smith’s situation reveals both the controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. Being aged above 55 years reveals a significant uncontrollable risk factor. According to the American Heart Association (2013), the likelihood of having stroke nearly doubles after every 10 years when an individual’s age goes beyond 55 years, thereby indicating part of the reason why Mrs. Smith (83 years) is likely to suffer from a stroke. Another uncontrollable risk factor which has already been presented in the case study is the transient ischemic attack. As the American Heart Association (2013) highlights, transient ischemic attacks are often warning strokes that have stroke-like symptoms without lasting damage. As such, they are stroke predictors where an individual who has had previous transient ischemic attacks has 10 times more chances of having stroke as compared to those who have never had the attack before.

On the other hand, as highlighted by Bornstein (2009), the controllable risk factors in the case study of Mrs. Smith include physical inactivity and high blood pressure. In the case study, Mrs.Smith does not undertake any exercise activities and has high blood pressure (145/90 mmHg). As stated by Geyer & Gomez (2009) physical inactivity increases an individual’s risk of contracting high blood pressure, which is argued to be the primary cause of strokes as well as the most crucial risk factor leading to stroke.


In conclusion, and based on the analysis, it is evident that Mrs. Smith clearly presents significant controllable and uncontrollable risk factors for stroke including age, transient ischemic attack, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.


Alguire, P 2009, Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students 2, ACP Press

Bornstein, N 2009, Stroke: Practical Guide for Clinicians, Karger Publishers

Caplan, L 2009, Caplan’s Stroke: A Clinical Approach, Elsevier Health Sciences

Geyer, J & Gomez, C 2009, Stroke: A Practical Approach, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Haiken, M 2012, Blood Pressure: 145/90, Retrieved on August 16, 2013 from <>

National Stroke Association 2013, Stroke Risk Factors, Retrieved on August 16, 2013 from <>

Sanders, M 2011, Mosby’s Paramedic Textbook, Jones & Bartlett Publishers

, Volume 1, Lippincott Williams & WilkinsBrunner & Siddhartha’s Textbook of Medical-surgical NursingSmeltzer, S, Bare, B, Hinkle, J & Cheever, K 2010,

, Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2009Health Psychology: Biological, Psychological, and Socio-cultural PerspectivesSnooks, M 2009,

>, Retrieved on August 16, 2013 from <Stroke Risk FactorsThe American Heart Association 2013,