Few community-based studies determined the incidence of transient global amnesia (TGA), with annual incidence rates between 2.9 and 10.4/100,000. Data on sex distribution of TGA are discrepant. Aim of this study was to determine the incidence of TGA in Merano, province of Bolzano, Northern Italy. Cases were identified from hospital discharge diagnoses of all the Departments of the general hospital of Merano and neighboring towns. Patients fulfilling internationally accepted diagnostic criteria for TGA and residing in Merano were included. Crude, age- and sex-specific incidence rates were computed. The overall annual crude incidence rate of TGA was 9.6/100,000 inhabitants (9.5 % confidence interval 6.7-13.3), 10.1/100,000 for men and 8.9/100,000 for women (p < 0.001). After adjustment by the direct method to the European population, the annual incidence rate was 6.4/100,000. The incidence rate of TGA in Merano, Italy, does not differ from that reported in Turku, Finland and Belluno, Italy. This study confirms that this benign syndrome is relatively common and occurs mainly in elderly patients. However, the higher male predominance in TGA incidence rates contrasts with previous epidemiological studies. Further, prospective incidence studies should therefore be conducted to further clarify sex predominance in TGA.
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