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West J Emerg Med. 2017 Oct;18(6):1079-1090. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2017.8.34997. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

Sex as a Biological Variable in Emergency Medicine Research and Clinical Practice: A Brief Narrative Review.

Author information

Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island.
Oregon Health & Science University, Department of Emergency Medicine, Portland, Oregon.
Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.


The National Institutes of Health recently highlighted the significant role of sex as a biological variable (SABV) in research design, outcome and reproducibility, mandating that this variable be accounted for in all its funded research studies. This move has resulted in a rapidly increasing body of literature on SABV with important implications for changing the clinical practice of emergency medicine (EM). Translation of this new knowledge to the bedside requires an understanding of how sex-based research will ultimately impact patient care. We use three case-based scenarios in acute myocardial infarction, acute ischemic stroke and important considerations in pharmacologic therapy administration to highlight available data on SABV in evidence-based research to provide the EM community with an important foundation for future integration of patient sex in the delivery of emergency care as gaps in research are filled.

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Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: By the WestJEM article submission agreement, all authors are required to disclose all affiliations, funding sources and financial or management relationships that could be perceived as potential sources of bias. No author has professional or financial relationships with any companies that are relevant to this study. There are no conflicts of interest or sources of funding to declare.

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