What is TGA?

TGA is an acronym for Transient Global Amnesia.  This is a condition that initially is mistaken for a stroke or a TIA (transient ischemic attack). A stroke, cerebral vascular accident, results in death of brain tissue that is generally secondary to a small blood clot in the brain caused by high blood pressure. A transient ischemia (lack of blood supply) attack happens when there is a temporary loss of nervous system function due to a narrowing of one of the vessels that supplies the brain or a small blood clot from a cholesterol plaque that breaks off and goes to the brain.  All three of these conditions fall under one of the FAA's Fifteen Specifically Disqualifying Medical Conditions. These conditions fall under the diagnosis of a transient loss of nervous system function.  A stroke or TIA is generally disqualifying for two years unless the airman's physician can determine that there is a treatable cause.   

TGA presents as a temporary loss of memory, generally for just a few hours. It is a different process and therefore is not associated with the more common stroke.  During a TGA a person's recall of recent events disappears.  The person does not recall anything about what is occurring at the present time.  The individual will repeatedly be asking the same question as they do not remember the responses that someone just gave them.  It is also possible that they will not recall events that occurred a day, a month, or even a year ago!  With a TGA, the person does know who they are. The event is short-lived and after it is over their memory is intact.  TGA rarely reoccurs. There are no associated signs that suggest that a particular area of the brain has been affected.   

In the past the airman would be required to be observed in a “grounded” state for one-year but discussions with the FAA Neurology consultant noted that they will reconsider the airman for recertification after 6 months of observation.   


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