Friday, August 19, 2005

Medicine: wtf is a mini-stroke?

and what is Senator Reid doing having one? Now, a mini-stroke would be a small stroke. And a TIA isn't a stroke at all.

What's even worse is that the NINDS site even gives a definition of a TIA as a transient stroke. WTF? And apparently the NSA site does the same thing, though I can't get the site to work right now.

Maybe I'm being legalistic. Actually, I'll assert that I'm being legalistic, because it's understandable that doctors often tell their patients that they've had 'mini-strokes' because it's a very simple way of explaining a somewhat complex medical issue. But I'm not sure that simplification at the risk of misinformation is really worth it. Calling a TIA a 'mini-stroke' assumes that the patient has absolutely zero medical knowledge. And that's a pretty dumb assumption in the Age of Google.

But the whole concept of a stroke involves permanent clinical damage. And a TIA, by definition, produces no permanent detectable damage. Mini-stroke might be a good name for a lacunar infarct, since those are, in fact, 'small strokes.'

Silly media, medicine is for doctors. Harry Reid is absolutely fine. If he has a true TIA, which it seems he has, he has absolutely zero residual deficits. He might need a carotid endarterectomy. He might need some aspirin, some atenolol, some lisinopril, some Lipitor. Since he probably has fancy senatorial insurance, he'll probably even get some Plavix.

But Harry Reid has not had a stroke. He hasn't even had a small stroke. I'm anxious to see if Media Matters picks up on Rush Limbaugh and company questioning Harry's fitness, which seems inevitable. As partisan and screechy as MM has become, they still pick up the good cruddy details.

1 comment:

michael said...

http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/aha_tia_car.htm

looks like it's not just the media