Gender differences in the functional recovery after acute stroke

J Clin Neurol. 2010 Dec;6(4):183-8. doi: 10.3988/jcn.2010.6.4.183. Epub 2010 Dec 31.


Background and purpose: PurposezzInterest in gender differences in the effects of acute stroke is growing worldwide. However, gender differences in functional recovery after acute stroke in the Korean population have yet to be evaluated. The aim of this investigation was to compare long-term functional outcomes between male and female after acute stroke.

Methods: Patients with acute stroke were enrolled prospectively between January 2005 and January 2009. Baseline characteristics, risk factors, stroke subtypes, time delay from onset to arrival at a hospital, active treatment, and stroke severity were compared between male and female. Differences in mortality and disability at discharge, and at 3 months and 1 year after stroke onset were also investigated. Functional disabilities were categorized into two groups: good outcome (score on modified Rankin scale ≤2) and poor outcome (score on modified Rankin scale >2).

Results: Among 1,055 patients with acute stroke, 575 were male (aged 64.83±11.98 years, mean±SD) and 480 were female (aged 70.09±13.02 years). There were no gender differences in mortality at 3 months and 1 year after stroke. The frequency of poor outcomes was higher in female patients than in male patients at discharge (39.8% versus 30.9%, respectively; p=0.003), the 3 months follow-up (32.3% versus 20.8%, respectively; p<0.001), and the 1 year follow-up (31.1% versus 18.7%, respectively; p=0.001). After adjusting for multiple confounding factors including age and stroke severity, the female gender persisted as a predictor of poor functional outcome at 3 months and 1 year after stroke.

Conclusions: Female patients have greater difficulty than male patients in recovering from a disabled state after acute stroke. Future studies should investigate the causes of this gender difference.

Keywords: disability; gender differences; outcome; stroke.