Clinical features, risk factors, and prognosis in transient global amnesia: a follow-up study


Leonardo Pantoni MD, PhD, Department of Neurological and Psychiatric Sciences, University of Florence, Viale Morgagni 85, 50134 Firenze, Italy (tel.: +39 055 4277 995; fax: +39 055 4298 461; e-mail:


We previously observed a high frequency of psychopathological features in transient global amnesia (TGA). We aimed at assessing differences in risk factor profile and prognosis between TGA and transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients with a focus on aspects with possible psychopathological relevance. We studied 51 TGA patients (mean age ± SD, 62.7 ± 6.7 years; M/F = 24/27) and 51 control patients with TIA (mean age ± SD, 63.8 ± 6.7 years; M/F = 41/10) and followed them up for about 7 years. Compared with TIA controls, TGA patients more frequently had a history of psychiatric diseases (age and sex-corrected OR = 2.86, 95% CI: 1.01–8.05) and alcohol use (OR = 3.26, 95% CI: 1.10–9.66) and less frequently a history of cardiac (OR = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.11–0.76) or peripheral artery disease (OR = 0.11, 95% CI: 0.01–0.96). A family history of psychiatric diseases was reported more frequently by TGA than TIA patients (OR = 2.99, 95% CI: 1.04–8.59). On follow-up, in comparison with TIA patients, TGA patients had a significantly lower risk of combined stroke, myocardial infarct, and death (log-rank test, P = 0.0059). In the multivariate analysis, the dissimilar baseline risk factor profile explained most of the difference in prognosis between the two groups. In comparison with TIA patients, patients with TGA have more frequently a personal or family history of psychiatric diseases and a more favorable vascular risk factor profile and prognosis. These results have therapeutic implications and reinforce the hypothesis that TGA is a benign disorder.