Background and purpose: Female sex is predictive of poor functional outcome in stroke, even after correction for prognostic factors. Poor quality of life (QoL) is observed in stroke survivors with lower scores seen in the most disabled patients. We used data from the Tinzaparin in Acute Ischaemic Stroke Trial (TAIST) to assess the relationship between sex and QoL after ischemic stroke.
Methods: TAIST was a randomized, controlled trial assessing the safety and efficacy of tinzaparin versus aspirin in 1484 patients with acute ischemic stroke. QoL was measured at 180 days postrandomization using the Short Form-36 health survey, which assesses QoL across 8 domains. The relationship between sex and each domain was assessed using ordinal regression, both unadjusted and adjusted for key prognostic factors.
Results: Of the 1484 patients randomized into TAIST, 216 had died at 180 days postrandomization. A total of 1268 survivors were included in this analysis, 694 males (55%) and 574 females (45%). Females tended to score lower than males across all QoL domains (apart from general health); statistically significant lower scores were seen for physical functioning (OR: 0.58, 95% CI: 0.47 to 0.72), vitality (OR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.64 to 0.98), and mental health (OR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.93). The results for physical functioning and mental health remained significant after adjustment for prognostic variables (OR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.58 to 0.92; OR: 0.76, 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.95, respectively).
Conclusions: QoL, in particular physical function and mental health domains, is lower in female patients after stroke. This difference persists even after correction for known prognostic factors such as age and stroke severity.