Article

Explaining poorer stroke outcomes in women: women surviving 3 months have more severe strokes than men despite a lower 3-month case fatality.

The Stroke Unit, Frederiksberg University Hospital, Frederiksberg, Denmark.
Gender Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.69). 04/2012; 9(3):147-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.genm.2012.03.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Women who survive stroke are more disabled and more often institutionalized than men.
We explore this phenomenon by studying case fatality and stroke severity in stroke survivors separately for men and women.
A Danish stroke registry (2000-2007) contains information about 26,818 patients with first-ever ischemic stroke, including stroke severity (Scandinavian Stroke Scale, 0 worst to 58 best), computed tomography scan, cardiovascular risk factors, and death 3 months after stroke. We modeled stroke severity by generalized additive linear model and 3-month case fatality with logistic model adjusting for age and cardiovascular risk factors.
Male to female ratio was 51.5% to 48.5%. Mean age was 68.8 (SD 12.6) years in men; 73.7 (13.8) years in women. Stroke was more severe in women (mean [SD] Scandinavian Stroke Scale, 42.2 [16.0]) than in men (mean [SD] Scandinavian Stroke Scale, 45.6 [14.2]) also after adjustment for age and cardiovascular risk factors; significant in patients older than 75 years. In survivors at 3 months, stroke was more severe in women than men, given same age and cardiovascular risk factor profile; significant in patients older than 75 years. More women (11.9%) had died within 3 months than men (8.6%). However, adjusting for age, stroke severity, and risk factor profile, 3-month case fatality was lower in women than men; significant in patients older than 78 years.
Although 3-month case fatality was lower in women than men, strokes were more severe among survivors at 3 months in women than in men. In addition, strokes were more severe in women. Our data help elucidate why women survive stroke better but have poorer functional outcomes that require more care than men.

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