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TGA - Transient Global Amnesia (temporary memory loss)

There seem to be no postings about TGA, so I thought I'd start one up as it is quite a bewildering experience.  14 April 2016 - 4pm: I came in from the garden (sawing through 2" hazelnut branch - which has probably been the trigger in my case) and said I was confused, asking what day of the week it was. Hubby said: Thursday. Apparently I kept on repeating the same question every 5-10mins - about 20 times. Hubby thought that strange, why doesn't she know these simple things. Then Hubby asked me: do you know what we did this morning? And I couldn't tell him. He told me we had been shopping, so I said: well it can't be Thursday because I go shopping on a Friday! (No probs with LT memory/reasoning then?) Hubby was worried so he thought he'd better check what I'd been up to in the garden and found one long hazel branch cut off which he put in the wheelie bin, but I told him to cut it up in chunks as things mustn't stick out of the bin (bossiness still in tact!). He tidied the stuff up and I changed out of my wellies and garden clobber all by myself apparently (procedural memory intact!) and by then Hubby had Googled 'loss of memory', and it came up with things like: go straight to A&E, it could be blood clot. So at 4.30pm Hubby said we'll ring up the surgery and I said: I'll do that. So I rang the surgery myself and spoke to L, but she couldn't get much sense out of me apparently, so Hubby spoke with her and she advised him to take me to A&E. About 5pm arrived at the hospital. Hubby was chatting with me asking what we'd been up earlier that day, but I couldn't remember anything. Couldn't remember our walk, that I had done some invoicing and arranging parcel despatch. After 30mins it was my turn, then had CT scan very quickly - around 6pm. apparently, had a Chest X-ray at 7.40pm and ECG at 8pm. I do remember a nurse sticking these ECG pads on my body, but I don't remember the actual ECG being recorded. The very first check had been how physically fit I was - knee reflex, push the medic's hand away with my own hand and foot, etc. - all OK. Followed by blood tests. CT scan results came back within one hour, all clear. Good news, so then what could it be? Then it was change of shift (8pm-ish?) and at that stage they seemed to think I had to stay in overnight - I do remember that bit, being told to stay overnight, feeling quite calm and resigned. Then Dr D came to us towards the end of our stay - he tested my ST memory by asking me if I remembered his name. I had no trouble remembering his name. He told us I had Transient Global Amnesia. He said it was fairly typical, liable to have a headache, it should have cleared up within 12 hours, with a 6% chance of recurrence. Otherwise I should be back to normal. But I have been feeling very groggy ever since, a headache for 2 whole days (yesterday Sunday, was the first day without) and very very tired, so it ws very reassuring to hear other people's experiences with similar after effects (on a soon to be defunct website). The consultant's secretary rang the next day with a follow-up appointment in 14 days' time. Can't fault the UK National Health Service. I have looked on YouTube for TGA and found a video called 'It's Tuesday' - a daughter recorded her mum in hospital - had to laugh, recognised all the symptoms, only with her it happened on a Tuesday, so daughter had to keep on repeating 'It's Tuesday' to her mum, hence the title of the video.  Hope it doesn't recurr.  Will ask consultant at my follow-up appointment if I need to avoid strenuous exercise for a while/forever?

37 Replies

  • sharadc39 sharadc39 maja68564

    Dear Maja. I have had 3 episodes of TG A in last 6 months without any common trigger. First time it was at a Naturopathy retreat after 4 days of fasting, second time it was in a restaurant after dinner with family and third time it was in office while speaking to my colleagues. On last 2 occasions I was able to feel certain dizziness and a feeling as if energy is drained out of body and lightheadedness. Most common confusion is about the current year and dates. I am pretty good at remembering numbers and dates and this is where my memory lapse is most profound. I also tend to forget things of recent past. All 3 episodes took place in evening or night and after a good night's sleep everything was fine next morning. An MRI after my second episode revealed nothing abnormal and the cause and trigger are a mystery. Good thing is that I can now feel that I am going to have TGA because of the eerie sensation preceding it. Best thing is to develop coping mechanism like keeping a handy diary and writing important stuff.

  • sandy56281 sandy56281 maja68564

    I had a similar experience this past Tuesday night. I had just finished my tennis league match, which lasted about one hour.  I went upstairs and over to the bar and ordered a Pinot noir. I remember drinking about half a glass of wine, had a little bit to eat, then I don't remember much after that.  I was told later that I asked my tennis partner who I  had played with.  She told me I played with her. I told her I didn't remember the match at all.  She became alarmed and got my cell phone and called my son. I found out later that another tennis lady who is in the medical field questioned me and suspected it was TGA.  When my son arrived she told him to take me to the nearest hospital ER. I remember my son walking toward me and saying we needed to go to the hospital, and I remember walking to the car.  The next thing I can remember is l was lying in a hospital bed in the ER.  They told me I was going to have an MRI.  I thought at that point that I had just arrived at the hospital, but my son later told me that I had been there  about and hour and a half, and that I had already had a CAT scan and chest  x-ray! I had no memory of that.  After the MRI I could remember the tennis match in detail, but only the bits of the other events I mentioned above. Now, two days later, I still remember the match but still don't remember the events after the match.  I saw my regular doctor today and he looked at the test results and could find nothing wrong. 

    I have had mild allergic reactions to red wine before--a few times my neck turned bright red, and a lot of times my nose gets stuffy.  On Tuesday, I had one glass of red wine.  I am wondering if the area of my brain that affects memory had a reaction to the wine.  The reason I think this is because in researching this condition, I learned that this type of incident is more prevalent in people who tend to have migraines, and I know red wine can bring on migraines in people, so to me it makes sense that an allergy to red wine could be responsible.

    Would like to know if anyone else had this happen after drinking red wine.


    • shirleyps shirleyps sandy56281

      Hi Sandy: I just replied to Maja so you might want to read that post but would like to let you know that my second TGA occurred soon after a tennis league match and I have read that physical exertion can trigger so maybe it was a combination of the wine which you are allergic to and the tennis! I would advise you to not drink it as you are adding to your body's stress and these TGA's are our body's way of telling us something.


    • vicky902 vicky902 sandy56281

      Sandy, I drink a glass to a glass and a half of red wine daily....I learned about 12 yrs ago, it’s Cabernet wines that causes an allergic reaction for me (headaches)....I asked my Neuro if I had to give up my wine and he said NO that red wine is good in moderation bq it opens the vessels...Thank God bq I love a glass w dinner. LOL. My only vice

  • shirleyps shirleyps maja68564

    Hi I just had my second TGA this week. My first one was five years ago while in the BVI and very scary as spent 24 hours in A&E without diagnosis until we returned home to USA a week later. I am a migraine sufferer and see a neurologist for treatment. I immediately made an appointment and had only got into about 30 seconds of my story before he smiled and said he knew what it was but continue. Then he informed me I had experienced  a TGA and most likely would never get another one. Very unhappy that I have now experienced a second TGA but not nearly as scary as the first but it also lasted only 6 hours rather than 18 hours.

    My husband was so exasperated during the first one with my repetitive questions that he had me start writing them down in my own hand with the answers, this was extremely helpful to him as could say every time I asked the same question "Look at your notes" which I did and recognizing my own writing I believed what I was reading. It was also somewhat calming. It also helped us figure out the trigger which we believe is stress caused by a conflict about feelings. In each case it was proceeded by a confrontation with close friend/family who was being hurtful and I wanted to cut off ties with but can't due to their relationship to other love ones i.e. my husband's twin or best friend! I still can't really reconcile that this would cause such a major brain glitch but have to accept that it does. He got me into the notebook routine right away on this second one, my sister was present and she helped with the process as well. It was good for him to have a second person manage me during the TGA event. I highly recommend that anyone reading this who might have another TGA as their loved ones to do the same thing as I think it really helps analyze the trigger but most of all helps carers manage the TGA sufferer! I can't imagine how awful it is for a TGA sufferer to be in a situation without friends/family support during the process. MY biggest fear is that I will get another one while I am alone in a strange place. I makes me somewhat fearful of traveling or going anywhere alone.

    My first TGA was more severe I believe and it took me many weeks or even months to emerge from the brain fog and feeling of being off kilter. It is only a few days since the second one and I am feeling a little off but trying to accept that. I had headache for over two days and feel very tired but I don't think I am as foggy, but definitely having a hard time remembering things. I have accepted that I will not remember anything about the day it happened or some events before and after.

    Thanks for starting this thread, very helpful!


    • maja68564 maja68564 shirleyps

      Sorry to hear about your second TGA, that must be soo disappointing!  Apparently they are quite rare and need to satisfy a combination of quite a lot of (physical) conditions before your brain goes haywire so to speak, which is why they are relatively rare.  Like you I am prone to headaches (& migraines when I was younger - I am 64 now).   Like you I felt headachy, groggy and tired afterwards for quite a while, but I was not told this could happen by the doctors.  I like your husband's ingenious plan of you writing down the endlessly repeated questions!   Good luck with your recovery, and hoping TGA does not plan a hat trick.  All the Best, Maja

    • deadalias deadalias shirleyps

      Reading your post has been very helpful.  I just had a TGA two days ago, spent the night in a hospital and am now working through the after effects. My incident (first and, hopefully, only) began just after a workout and lasted about 8 hours.  Earlier in the day I dropped my wife and kids at church and went to the gym.  I have no memory of anything after dropping them off (except for a couple small snippets either at the gym or when I came back to pick them up). 

      When I came back from the workout and we were walking to the car, my wife told me I said I didn't know where I parked the car and that something was wrong.  I told her we should go to the ER.  I don't remember anything after that until a nurse was removing the EEG electrodes from my head.  During that "lost" time my behavior pretty much matched what others have said: repetitive questioning, ability to answer questions about things in the past, myself or learned material, but not able to remember recent things like where I was, who the doctor was, etc. 

      Things started to clear up after the EEG and my ability to make and keep memories began to come back. I was admitted and had an MRI not long after (which I remember).  After a night in the hospital I was discharged with the TGA diagnosis and I have a 3-month followup appointment. 

      As has been stated in online info and by others in posts like these, little is known and there isn't much in the literature to help understand what's happened and what to expect (even short term).  Your post has been quite helpful.  Just knowing that a residual headache and fogginess is possible and not necessarily a cause for rushing into the ER is really good to know.  I love the coping mechanism of writing down questions and answers (I just showed this post to my wife and she thought it was brilliant).  I hope it never happens again but having anything to help during it can be huge.  Also, reading  what the next few days might be bring, in terms of symptoms, helps since I left the hospital thinking I should feel perfectly fine. 

    • shirleyps shirleyps deadalias

      So glad my post was helpful, I was very grateful that there was a site to find out what other TGA peeps had to say. Reading them was very helpful to me and a lot more information than my neurologist provided. In fact the neurologist gave me incorrect info so without these posts I would have been a lot more stressed. BTW I feel perfectly fine now, much quicker recovery from my second TGA than the first in terms of memory and residual fogginess. Good luck to you and thanks for the feedback.

    • sandy56281 sandy56281 deadalias

      I have not had a recurrence, but thinking maybe it was my blood pressure. When taken at the hospital it was 210/110.  Went on meds right after that and have been fine since.  Still drink red wine, so don’t think it was that.

    • susan12566 susan12566 sandy56281

      My blood pressure was found to be “spiking” too. Drs seem to think it was a factor in the physical assault on my body that probably triggered this. Had been sick in bed for 3 days, thumping headache, stuffed nose, climbed 2 super-high flights of stairs at my workplace while carrying a heavy box of books. Next thing I know it’s night time (it was morning), I’m in the Emergency Dept and my husband is looking at me with huge relief on his face. If only I could bottle that look! 

    • susan12566 susan12566 vicky902

      I know that is commonly what is written and said but struggle to understand that line of thinking. I was told even positive stress could be a cause - my event happened 2 days before we settled buying a block of land we are really excited about. But I’ve had far bigger stresses - positive and negative - in my life than that. Was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer when my child was young and didn’t know if I’d survive, lost both my parents in my early twenties, had both my siblings carted off with life threatening illnesses, have given birth etc. Surely every person who ever experienced a major trauma, lost a loved one, contemplated a fantastic holiday, lost a job, welcomed a child into the world, had a partner or parent who experienced a TGA event - because it’s far more stressful for them than us - would be at major risk if stress was the trigger. I was physically stressed - had been unwell for several days, couldn’t breath well through my nose and had just exerted myself strenuously climbing quite a lot of stairs carrying a heavy box of books - and I’d been experiencing severe headaches in the weeks leading up to it. Physical stress  makes more sense to me.

      And how does an MRI show physical damage from emotional stress? Again, most of us would have multiple lessons on our brains if stress could cause it, not the one or 2 that are the “telltale signs” of TGA. 

      I’m still trying to process this. It’s all very new for me. 

  • jill03982 jill03982 maja68564

    Hi all, I had a TGA last Friday. I’m 59.   No strenuous trigger, some minor stress, I also had a Mexican burrito meal at an upscale restaurant about two hours before the confusion.  All tests so far are normal- doing a precautionary MRI on Thursday.  I have had migraines since 4th grade.  I still feel... tired... in my brain.  It seems to be working fine.  But thinking about more complex issues is... weary.  Taxing.  Today I spent two hours spec-ing a new laptop.  It’s only been 10 days since the episode.  Have any of you earlier posters had recurrences?  I have several docs because I recently moved states.  My integrative health care specialist thinks it’s a food intolerance- I do have antibodies appearing for gluten, legumes, dairy... but those foods have never given me any noticeable  symptoms.  The burrito was smothered in cheese (dairy) and the decried beans are legumes.  Anyone else exploring food intolerances?  Also lots of articles about TGA and statins.  I am not taking a statin.  Your thoughts?

    • maja68564 maja68564 jill03982

      Hi Jill, I have not had any recurrences so far (fingers crossed) since my TGA in April 2016, but like you I suffered with migraines up until I was about 60, now (nearly 65) I get ocular migraines (zigzaggy lines which start small in the centre of my eyes then spreads out towards periphery - lasts about 15 mins) accompanied by heavy head.  I felt tired for quite a few days/2 weeks after my TGA with headaches.  Don't have any food intolerances.  I don't take any medication.  Someone posted on this forum reporting repeated incidences of TGAs, but I listened to a radio health programme on the BBC and they said it is quite a rare occurrence, i.e. it takes quite a few things to come together to satisfy sufficient conditions for a TGA to occur.  All the best.  Maja

    • jill03982 jill03982 maja68564

      I suffered with classic migraines now I just get the optical occasionally.  I started taking magnesium before bed- magnesium glycinate 400 mg total which my doctor told me is good for migraines.  Actually it’s been a good 6 months.   And then for some reason I just grabbed my scripts and stopped the supplements for a couple days before this incident.  (I have high BP controlled with diuretics and low thyroid.).   Have you had the blood test that checks for food intolerances?  I took the E95  basic food panel and was surprised about what foods it recommended that I totally avoid like bananas!  I never had an allergic reaction so I was surprised I was intolerant.  Evidently foods will add to inflammation (brain included). Glad you haven’t gotten any more!!

    • maja68564 maja68564 jill03982

      Hi Jill, it was on a BBC radio programme called All in the Mind and Prof Adam Zeman talked about TGA.  He said TGA was relatively common: about 1 in 10,000 people a year get one, usually it is a one off, one a few percent of patients have recurrence.  Triggered by physical or psychological stress, and people who are prone to anxiety seem to be get it more and one particular set of conditions needs to be satisfied - but he didn't elaborate on that.  I have had The YorkTest Food Intolerance Test which measure food-specific IgG antibodies,but this is not a scientifically proven test at all - wasted my money on that - it shows up the foods you have most recently eaten (hence the anti-bodies). I am not intolerant to any foods - I thought for years I was intolerant to wheat and avoided it for years (migraines) unnecessarily.   Anyway statistically speaking the probabilities of getting another TGA are very low.  Good luck!  Maja

    • karen07433 karen07433 jill03982

      I have just had a TGA. I have had lots of food intolerances over many years e.g. cheese, milk, several fruits.  I had not considered the connection. did you work out anything useful?

      I am not taking statin but read articles about their possible triggering TGA. Any thoughts?

    • shirleyps shirleyps karen07433

      Hi Kare: I am so sorry to hear about your TGA and wish you a fast recovery. I don't think mine have anything to do with food intolerance and I am pretty sure mine are triggered by an episode of intense emotional conflict. I think we all have different triggers and you should keep this in mind for the future and try and avoid what might be your own personal trigger/s. 

    • vicky902 vicky902 maja68564

      The reason it’s a small percentage is bq many are unaware that they have experienced a TGA bq they don’t go to dr or ER....I have to say, since I’ve had my episode and shared my experience w a few, there have been a few that said wow, my dad had similar thing happen to him or my mom arrived st my hone 3 hrs later and didn’t remember anything in between, etc and none of them went to ER or dr.  I feel we need to spread the word.  We all learn from one another


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