Sex differences in stroke

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2008;26(5):462-74. doi: 10.1159/000155983. Epub 2008 Sep 23.


Increasing evidence suggests that sex differences exist in the etiology, presentation, treatment, and outcome from stroke. The reasons for these sex disparities are becoming increasingly explored, but large gaps still exist in our knowledge. Experimental studies over the past several years have demonstrated intrinsic sex differences both in vivo and in animal models which may have relevance to our understanding of stroke in clinical populations. A greater understanding of the differences and similarities between males and females with respect to the risk factors, pathophysiology, and response to stroke will facilitate the design of future clinical trials and enhance the development of treatment strategies to improve stroke care in both sexes. This article reviews the current literature on sex differences in stroke with an emphasis on the clinical data, incorporating an analysis of bench research as it pertains to the bedside.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / metabolism
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / pathology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular* / therapy
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke* / etiology
  • Stroke* / pathology
  • Stroke* / physiopathology
  • Stroke* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Aspirin