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A review on sex differences in stroke treatment and outcome


Peter Appelros, Department of Neurology, Örebro University Hospital, SE-701 85 Örebro, Sweden
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Appelros P, Stegmayr B, Terént A. A review on sex differences in stroke treatment and outcome.
Acta Neurol Scand: 2010: 121: 359–369.
© 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Munksgaard.

Background –  Beyond epidemiological differences, it has been controversial whether any important sex differences exist in the treatment of stroke. In this review paper, the following areas are covered: thrombolysis, stroke unit care, secondary prevention, surgical treatment, and rehabilitation. Additionally, symptoms at stroke onset, as well as outcome measures, such as death, dependency, stroke recurrence, quality of life, and depression are reviewed.

Methods –  Search in PubMed, tables-of-contents, review articles, and reference lists after studies that include information about sex differences in stroke care.

Results –  Ninety papers are included in this review. Women suffer more from cortical and non-traditional symptoms. Men and women benefit equally from thrombolysis and stroke unit care. Women with cardioembolic strokes may benefit more from anticoagulant therapy. Most studies have not found any tendency towards sexism in the choice of treatment. Post-stroke depression and low quality-of-life seem to be more common among women. Mortality rates are higher among men in some studies, while long-term ADL-dependency seems to be more common among women.

Conclusions –  Sex differences in stroke treatment and outcome are small, with no unequivocal proof of sex discrimination. Women have less favourable functional outcome because of higher age at stroke onset and more severe strokes.

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