Stroke has a greater effect on women than men owing to the fact that women have more stroke events and are less likely to recover. Age-specific stroke rates are higher in men; however, because of women's longer life expectancy and the much higher incidence of stroke at older ages, women have more stroke events than men overall. The aims of this prospective study in consecutive patients were to assess whether there are gender differences in stroke risk factors, treatment or outcome. Consecutive patients with ischemic stroke were included in this prospective study at four study centers. Disability was assessed using a modified Rankin Scale score (>or=3 indicating disabling stroke) in both genders at 90 days. Outcomes and risk factors in both genders were compared using the chi(2) test. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify any independent predictors of outcome. A total of 1136 patients were included in this study; of these, 494 (46%) were female. Women were statistically older compared with men: 76.02 (+/- 12.93) and 72.68 (+/- 13.27) median years of age, respectively. At admission, females had higher NIH Stroke Scale scores compared with males (9.4 [+/- 6.94] vs 7.6 [+/- 6.28] for men; p = 0.0018). Furthermore, females tended to have more cardioembolic strokes (153 [30%] vs 147 [23%] for men; p = 0.004). Males had lacunar and atherosclerotic strokes more often (146 [29%] vs 249 [39%] for men; p = 0.002, and 68 [13%] vs 123 [19%] for men; p = 0.01, respectively). The mean modified Rankin Scale score at 3 months was also significantly different between genders, at 2.5 (+/- 2.05) for women and 2.1 (+/- 2.02) for men (p = 0.003). However, at multivariate analysis, female gender was not an indicator for negative outcome. It was concluded that female gender was not an independent factor for negative outcome. In addition, both genders demonstrated different stroke pathophysiologies. These findings should be taken into account when diagnostic workup and treatment are being planned.
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