Author: Sam Killian, M.D.
- Transient global amnesia is a paroxysmal, transient memory issue. Remote and immediate memory is preserved, but new memories cannot be made.
- Patients will have a normal neurological exam and usually no other complaints.
- The episode will last less than 24 hours, but they usually resolve after 1-2 hours.
- This is relatively common. It happens in 5/100000 people, mostly men over 50. Recurrence is rare.
- There is no known cause, but it is associated with migraines and classically occurs after heavy physical exertion or emotional stress.
- Workup includes a full neuro exam, imaging for ongoing symptoms, and labs to rule out other causes.
- Patients can be sent home with reassurance after symptoms resolve. Instruct them to follow up with neurology. Patients with continuing symptoms should be admitted.
References: Owen D, Paranandi B, Sivakumar R, Seevaratnam M. Classical diseases revisited: transient global amnesia. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2007;83(978):236-239. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2006.052472.