Evidence of hormonal basis for improved survival among females with trauma-associated shock: an analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank

J Trauma. 2010 Sep;69(3):537-40. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181efc67b.


Background: Basic science research suggests that sex hormones affect survival after traumatic shock. This study sought to determine the independent effect of gender on mortality among trauma patients in different hormone-related age groups.

Methods: Review of severely injured trauma patients with shock included in the National Trauma Databank. Patients were stratified into three groups on the basis of likely hormonal status: prehormonal (age, 0-12 years), hormonal (age,13-64 years), and posthormonal (age, ≥ 65 years). Multiple logistic regression was used to analyze the independent effect of gender on mortality in each group, adjusting for anatomic and physiologic injury severity.

Results: A total of 48,394 patients met our inclusion criteria (Injury Severity Score ≥ 16 and systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg). Crude mortality was higher (p < 0.05) for males in all categories: prehormonal = 29% for males (n = 3,553) versus 24% for females (n = 1,831); hormonal = 34% for males (n = 26,778) versus 30% for females (n = 8,677) and posthormonal = 36% for males (n = 4,280) versus 31% for females (n = 3,275). After adjusting for covariates, women in the hormonally active group had a 14% decreased odds of death (0.86 [95% CI, 0.76-0.93]) compared with men. Females did not exhibit this survival advantage in the prehormonal (odds of death = 0.92 [0.74-1.14]) or posthormonal (odds of death = 0.90 [0.76-1.05]) groups.

Conclusions: Females aged between 13 and 64 years exhibit significantly lower mortality than males after trauma-associated shock. This outcome difference is lost at the extremes of age (preadolescent children and individuals aged ≥ 65 years) where the effects of sex hormones are absent or diminished. These findings suggest that hormonal differences play a role in the gender-based outcome disparities after traumatic shock.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Shock, Traumatic / mortality*
  • Shock, Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Young Adult


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones