‘Mini Strokes’ May Increase Risk of PTSD

HealthDay News  — Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) may not cause lasting physical damage but they may increase the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study published online in Stroke.

One hundred eight patients completed questionnaires three months after having a TIA. The researchers found that almost one-third (29.6%) of patients developed symptoms of PTSD, including depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life.

The responses also indicated that about 14% had significantly reduced mental quality of life after their TIA, and 6.5 percent had reduced physical quality of life. The participants’ median age was 70.

It’s not entirely clear why some patients develop PTSD following a TIA, but others do not, study coauthor Kathrin Utz, PhD, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, told HealthDay.

“However, what we do know at this stage is that younger patients and patients who in general find it difficult to cope with stress are more likely to develop psychological problems following a TIA,” she said. “We also found that patients who overestimate their risk of suffering a future stroke are also more likely to show psychological problems.”

These findings suggest that particular attention should be paid to younger patients. Teaching better stress-coping skills and carefully explaining a patient’s realistic stroke risk might help prevent PTSD after a transient ischemic attack, Utz said.


  1. Kiphuth IC, et al. Stroke. 2014; doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.004459