The symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are the same as those of a stroke, but they only last for a few minutes or hours.

Recognising the signs of a TIA

Like a stroke, the signs and symptoms of a TIA usually begin suddenly.

It’s important to recognise the symptoms quickly and call 999 to ask for an ambulance straight away.

The main symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:

It's important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms.

If you live with or care for someone in a high-risk group, such as an older person or someone with diabetes or high blood pressure, being aware of the symptoms is even more important.

Other possible symptoms

The symptoms in the FAST test identify most strokes and TIAs, but a TIA can occasionally cause different symptoms that typically appear suddenly (usually over a few seconds).

Other signs and symptoms may include:

However, there may be other causes for these symptoms.

When to get medical advice

Call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance if you or someone else has symptoms of a TIA or stroke.

Even if the symptoms disappear while you're waiting for an ambulance to arrive, an assessment in hospital should still be done.

You should be referred to see a specialist within 24 hours of the start of your symptoms.

A TIA is a warning that you're at risk of having a full stroke in the near future. An assessment can help doctors determine the best way to reduce the chances of this happening.

If you think you've had a TIA previously, but the symptoms have since passed and you did not get medical advice at the time, make an urgent appointment with a GP. They can refer you for a hospital assessment, if appropriate.

Page last reviewed: 28 June 2023
Next review due: 28 June 2026