Just had Transient Ischemic Attack


Jim: I’m a Vietnam veteran, and I was granted temporary compensation for prostate cancer due to Agent Orange. Just a few weeks ago, I experience an episode of slurred speech and memory loss — not even able to recall the names of people I worked with the day before at a food pantry. At the VAMC, I was diagnosed with a TIA and warned that a full stroke could follow. Is there a precedent, or a policy change, that would allow disability compensation in my case? Thanks, Dave

Jim's Reply:

TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack is sometimes viewed as a mini-stroke and a precursor to worse things that could come if you don't take precautions. The priority for you is to be evaluated as to why you had the TIA since there are a few different common causes of the condition. 

If you have carotid artery disease as a stand alone diagnosis, there isn't a presumption to agent orange as there is with prostate cancer. If you have service connected diabetes (common in Vietnam veterans) then carotid artery disease may be rated as secondary to that. However, a TIA may be caused by other things going on in your body so first things first, a firm diagnosis of the cause of the TIA and then we consider whether it may be service connected.

Don't delay treatment. Everything is more difficult after you've had a stroke.