Association between sex and survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2023 Apr 29;4(3):e12943. doi: 10.1002/emp2.12943. eCollection 2023 Jun.


The current literature on sex differences in 30-day survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is conflicting, with 3 recent systematic reviews reporting opposing results. To address these contradictions, this systematic literature review and meta-analysis aimed to synthesize the literature on sex differences in survival after OHCA by including only population-based studies and through separate meta-analyses of crude and adjusted effect estimates. MEDLINE and Embase databases were systematically searched from inception to March 23, 2022 to identify observational studies reporting sex-specific 30-day survival or survival until hospital discharge after OHCA. Two meta-analyses were conducted. The first included unadjusted effect estimates of the association between sex and survival (comparing males vs females), whereas the second included effect estimates adjusted for possible mediating and/or confounding variables. The PROSPERO registration number was CRD42021237887, and the search identified 6712 articles. After the screening, 164 potentially relevant articles were identified, of which 26 were included. The pooled estimate for crude effect estimates (odds ratio [OR], 1.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22-1.66) indicated that males have a higher chance of survival after OHCA than females. However, the pooled estimate for adjusted effect estimates shows no difference in survival after OHCA between males and females (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.84-1.03). Both meta-analyses involved high statistical heterogeneity between studies: crude pooled estimate I2 = 95.7%, adjusted pooled estimate I2 = 91.3%. There does not appear to be a difference in survival between males and females when effect estimates are adjusted for possible confounding and/or mediating variables in non-selected populations.

Keywords: heart arrest; out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrest; sex; survival; systematic review.