Introduction: Impact of gender on severe infections is in highly controversial discussion with natural survival advantage of females described in animal studies but contradictory to those described human data. This study aims to describe the impact of gender on outcome in mixed intensive care units (ICUs) with a special focus on sepsis.
Methods: We performed a prospective, observational, clinical trial at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. Over a period of 180 days, patients were screened, undergoing care in three mainly surgical ICUs. In total, 709 adults were included in the analysis, comprising the main population ([female] n = 309, [male] n = 400) including 327 as the sepsis subgroup ([female] n = 130, [male] n = 197).
Results: Basic characteristics differed between genders in terms of age, lifestyle factors, comorbidities, and SOFA-score (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment). Quality and quantity of antibiotic therapy in means of antibiotic-free days, daily antibiotic use, daily costs of antibiotics, time to antibiotics, and guideline adherence did not differ between genders. ICU mortality was comparable in the main population ([female] 10.7% versus [male] 9.0%; P = 0.523), but differed significantly in sepsis patients with [female] 23.1% versus [male] 13.7% (P = 0.037). This was confirmed in multivariate regression analysis with OR = 1.966 (95% CI, 1.045 to 3.701; P = 0.036) for females compared with males.
Conclusions: No differences in patients' outcome were noted related to gender aspects in mainly surgical ICUs. However, for patients with sepsis, an increase of mortality is related to the female sex.