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Patient Education - History

Mr. C: "...They told me I had a TIA..."


Meet the patient

What would you tell Mr C?

Patient History

Mr. C is a 69 year old Black male.

For many years he hosted a popular radio program that featured jazz, and introduced local artists. Now retired, he continues to make radio commercials and to participate in community activities. He has a 20-year history of hypertension, which is controlled by medications.

This morning at breakfast he suddenly realized that he couldn't talk right. He had to work extra hard and speak slowly to make the words come out clearly. His wife noticed as well, and jokingly told him to stop speaking with his mouth full. When it became clear that something more serious was wrong, she got worried and drove him to the local hospital.

In retrospect, both Mr. C and his wife thought that he'd had no difficulty understanding what was being said to him, or thinking of the words that he wanted to say--he just couldn't make words come out clearly. His wife also thought that his face might have seemed a little droopy at breakfast, but she couldn't remember whether this was on one side or both. They both agreed that this was the first time that anything like this had ever happened.

By the time Mr. C. got to the hospital, he was talking normally. No traces of facial weakness or any other neurologic deficits were detected on examination in the ER. His blood pressure was 150/90; an EKG showed mild left ventricular hypertrophy. A CT scan of his brain was normal.

Mr. C was told that most likely he'd had a TIA. Aspirin was started in the ER. He was scheduled for an immediate work-up, which included a number of additional diagnostic tests.

As he sat waiting with his wife, he realized that he was unclear about what had happened to him. 

What would you tell him? Type your brief answer in the answer space below (imagine that you have 5 minutes to answer his questions).