Emergency Medicine

Stroke After an Episode of Transient Global Amnesia Is Rare

Source: Mangla A, et al. Transient global amnesia and the risk of stroke. Stroke 2014;45:389-393.

Because of its symptomatic similarity to ischemic stroke, an episode of transient global amnesia can be a terrifying ordeal. Despite being attributed at points to transient ischemia, epileptic seizure, and migraine, the true cause and pathology of transient global amnesia (TGA) is as of yet unknown.

Mangla, et al conducted this study to determine whether an episode of TGA could actually increase the risk of the disease it is commonly mistaken for: stroke. The authors compared the rate of stroke after an episode of TGA to the rates of stroke following migraine, epileptic seizure, and transient ischemic attack, and found that, after adjustment for demographic characteristics and stroke risk factors, TGA was not significantly associated with stroke risk when compared with migraine, TIA, or epileptic seizure. Though presenting a higher rate of stroke than migraine patients, TGA had lower rates than those of epileptic seizure patients and TIA patients. The evidence surrounding TGA at least currently points to a mechanism similar to that of migraines — it also presented a stroke risk exceedingly similar to migraines.