[Not every TIA is primarily vascular]
SourceNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 147, 37, (2003), pp. 1769-1772
Article / Letter to editor
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Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
SubjectUMCN 3.2: Cognitive neurosciences
Three patients, two women aged 72 and 45 years, and a man aged 80 years, presented with transient neurological deficits due to a brain tumour, a glioblastoma multiforme and two meningiomas respectively. A fourth patient, an 84-year-old man, had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) with a meningioma as an incidental finding. The first woman had normal CT findings, but MRI revealed the neoplasm. Symptoms included motor loss, sensory disturbances, dysphasia and dysarthria, lasting from 30 seconds up to 10 minutes. The first two patients had surgery; the first one later died when the tumour recurred. The other two patients still exhibit a spontaneous recovery. Of all patients with a clinical presentation of a TIA, 0.4-1% harbour a brain tumour. Clinical symptoms do not distinguish 'transient tumour attacks' from TIAs with a primarily vascular origin. Transient tumour attacks are mainly seen with meningiomas, and to a lesser extent with high-grade gliomas. Changes in intracranial pressure leading to focal ischaemia may explain the occurrence of this phenomenon. A part from intracerebral tumours, non-vascular entities mimicking TIAs can also be seen with demyelinating processes, metabolic disturbances, epilepsy or migraine. Brain imaging is always required in patients with transient neurological deficits. A CT scan may provide false-negative results and in case of doubt, MRI is the preferred diagnostic tool.
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