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Eur J Intern Med. 2013 Mar;24(2):167-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2012.10.004. Epub 2012 Nov 17.

Sex differences in clinical presentation, severity and outcome of stroke: results from a hospital-based registry.

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  • 1Scientific Direction and Emergency Medicine Dpt., Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Cà Granda Policlinico, Milan, Italy.



Sex related differences in cardiovascular disease and stroke are issues of increasing interest. The aim of this study was to evaluate for sex differences in clinical presentation, severity of stroke and outcome in a population of patients admitted to 4 public and 1 private hospitals in three different regions of Italy.


All hospital admissions for ischemic and haemorrhagic stroke (ICD-IX code 434 and 431 respectively) between January 1st and December 31st, 2011 at five different hospitals located in three different regions of Italy: Milan (North), Rome and Perugia (Center), and Palermo (South) have been recorded and sex-differences have been evaluated.


A total of 1272 stroke patients were included in the analysis: 1152 ischemic and 120 haemorrhagic strokes, 567 women and 705 men. Compared to men, women were significantly older (mean age 75.2 SD 13.7 vs 71.5 SD 12.5 years, P<0.001) and their stroke severities at onset, measured by NIHSS, were also compared to men (10 SD 8 vs 8 SD 7, P<0.001). Female sex was associated with a worse functional prognosis measured by modified Rankin Scale score (mRS≥3), as well as in-hospital mortality, without reaching statistical significance. There were no observed significant differences between sexes regarding the number of patients treated with thrombolytic therapy. Analysis of the distribution of risk factors between sexes showed a prevalence of atrial fibrillation in women (29% vs 21%, P=0.003).


Both stroke severity and functional outcome were worse in women.

Copyright © 2012 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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