The purpose of this study was to determine frequency and the characteristics of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) abnormalities in patients with transient ischaemic attack (TIA). We analysed data of 98 consecutive patients (mean age: 60.6±15.4 years, 56 men) admitted between January 2003 and April 2004 for TIA. Age, gender, symptom type and duration, delay from onset to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), probable or possible TIA and cause of TIA were compared in patients with (DWI+) and without (DWI-) lesions on DWI. Volume and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of DWI lesions were computed. DWI revealed ischaemic lesions in 34 patients (34.7%). Lesions were small (mean volume: 1.9 cm3±3.3), and ADC was moderately decreased (mean ADC ratio: 79.5%). The diagnosis of TIA was considered as probable in all DWI+ patients. A multiple logistic regression model demonstrated that TIA duration greater than or equal to 60 min (OR, 7.6; 95% CI, 2.3-25.7), aphasia (OR, 9.2; 95% CI, 2.7-31.4) and motor deficit (OR, 5.1; 95% CI, 1.5-17.8) were independent predictors of DWI lesions. Prolonged TIA duration, aphasia and motor deficits are associated with DWI lesions. More than half of TIA patients with symptoms lasting more than 60 min have DWI lesions.