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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Transient global amnesia


Other Names for this Disease
  • TGA
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Your Question

My mother has had 2 to 3 episodes of transient global amnesia (TGA) in the last 8 months. How often does a person have repeated episodes of TGA? What can we do to make them stop?

Our Answer

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How often does a person have repeated episodes of transient global amnesia (TGA)?

The chance of having a recurrence of TGA is thought to be approximately 4-5 percent, however, it could be as high as about 25 percent over a lifetime. Recurrences usually involve no long-term health problems.[1]
Last updated: 8/12/2014

What treatment is available for transient global amnesia (TGA)?

There is no specific treatment for transient global amnesia (TGA).[1] Fortunately, this condition resolves on its own, typically within hours of onset.[10544] Most people with TGA do not experience repeat episodes.[1][2]

People with repeat episodes of TGA should document the circumstances triggering the event. For some, it may be possible to prevent TGA by avoiding triggers. However, for many this is not possible. Possible triggers of TGA, include:[3][2]

Sudden immersion in cold or hot water
Strenuous physical activity
Sexual intercourse
Medical procedures, such as angiography or endoscopy
Mild head trauma
Acute emotional distress (e.g., from bad news, conflict or being overworked)
Exposure to high altitudes

Much of what we know about treatment of recurrent TGA comes from single case reports. These reports emphasize the need to rule out all other possible causes of recurrent TGA type episodes, such as transient epileptic amnesia, vascular disease, heart conditions, and adverse drug events, as this will affect treatment.[4][5][6][7]

The cause of transient global amnesia is not known, but migraines seem to be associated in many cases. We found a single report of metoprolol use for treatment of recurrent TGA in a man with a history of migraine.[3] Further study is needed to assess the efficacy of this treatment.
Last updated: 2/3/2016

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • TGA
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.