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Brainstem TIA Signs/ Symptoms

Signs and symptoms often characteristic of brainstem TIAs include:

  • Unilateral or bilateral** weakness, clumsiness or paralysis
  • Limb ataxia or coarse tremor, staggering or veering when attempting to walk (cerebellar signs)
  • Vertigo or dizziness (an important symptom when present together with other brainstem findings)
  • Unilateral or bilateral** numbness or paresthesias (burning, tingling, etc.) or loss of sensation
  • Dysarthria 
  • Visual field loss or blindness or diplopia
  • Nystagmus (the patient may describe nystagmus as "things jumping around when I try to look at them.")

** Since the basilar artery supplies both sides of the brainstem, its occlusion can affect motor or sensory long tracts bilaterally.