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We took her to the ER thinking she was having a stroke or that her brain tumor had come back. She had no other symptoms at all. Just expressive aphasia. After many tests they concluded it was a simple UTI. Can a UTI actually do that? They are saying it was not a TIA as it would have shown up on the MRI. It lasted about 12 hours and started to clear up. She was on an IV which could have flushed out some of the UTI bacteria but it wasn't treated with antibiotics until yesterday. Thoughts? Is it possible for a UTI to cause that or for a TIA to not show up on a CT or MRI?

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This was a neurologist. Actually 4 different ones, two of which specialize in strokes. I asked why her speech cleared up when no treatment for the UTI was given and they said it was because of her IV flushing out the UTI some and increased hydration. I just don't see it myself. She goes in next month and I will request her vascular system be evaluated.
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When I first read your question, the first thing I thought was "UTI". A UTI can cause some incredible symptoms. But with your saying it passed in 12 hours, a UTI no longer makes sense. If I were you, btw, I'd ask for a copy of the lab report proving that she had a UTI. That being said, my husband has had 2 strokes and several TIAs. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury several years ago. We have a *lot of neurological knowledge and experience having consulted with several top specialists in our area (New York), and having been hospitalized with brain issues many, many times. Add to that, I ask a lot of questions, and make sure the answers are explained to my satisfaction and understanding. A TIA does NOT show up on an MRI, ever. Part of the definition of a TIA is that it does not cause permanent, visible damage. It does, however act like a stroke, usually with just one type of stroke symptom. Generally an actual stroke will have several symptoms including speech, loss of control of limbs, and facial droop or paralysis, and that will show up on an MRI. Whatever doctor told you that a TIA would show up on an MRI is incompetent, and I advise you to never step foot in that hospital again!! Even if he misspoke, that is evidence of his incompetence. You are not allowed to be so distracted as to misspeak when it comes to something as serious as a stroke, not for the money a specialist gets paid. Please find another medical group, and as cwillie suggested, get the health of her vascular system checked. A visit to a neurologist and a pet scan could also not hurt. Good luck.
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That's what she did. Was talking and all of a sudden it was jibberish. Only difference was she knew she was doing it and it scared her. Lasted 12 hours. They did call in a stroke specialist. They are saying everything in the MRI looks fine. I just didn't think a UTI could do this. Usually she gets confused but not aphasic. They are going to do another MRI in 3 months.
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There are ample comments on this site that prove UTIs can cause some pretty extreme symptoms in the elderly. But...my research says it is possible a TIA would not show up on an MRI. The attacks are by definition transient, caused by a temporary interruption to the blood flow in the brain, much the same way angina is caused by a temporary interruption to blood flow to the heart. If there is visible damage it would be a mini stroke, not a TIA; unfortunately even those in the medical community use the two terms interchangeably. The first inkling I had that my own mom was having TIAs was an episode where we were having a conversation and suddenly everything coming out of her mouth was just gibberish. Amazingly she seemed to not realize it at all, and I suppose it only lasted for a few seconds but it scared the cr*p out of me and I ended up taking her to the ER also, but we were given a diagnosis of TIA based on the symptoms and referred to a neurologist specializing in stroke prevention. If I were you I would be looking to her doctors to follow up at least investigate the health of her vascular system.
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