Background — Stroke is an important cause of death and disability in women as well as men. However, little is known about sex differences in stroke care and outcomes.
Methods — The Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network (RCSN) captured data on patients with stroke seen at acute care hospitals across Canada. We used data from phase 1 (July 2001 to February 2002) and phase 2 (June to December 2002) of the RCSN to compare stroke presentation, management, and 6-month outcomes in women and men using multivariable regression techniques to adjust for age and other factors.
Results — The study sample included 3323 patients, with 1527 women. Stroke symptoms at presentation were similar in women and men, except that women were more likely to present with headaches and were less likely to have brain stem or cerebellar symptoms. There were no sex differences in the use of neuroimaging, thrombolysis, antithrombotic therapy, or consultations. Women were less likely than men to receive care on an acute stroke unit, but this difference was no longer significant after adjustment for age and other factors. Women were more likely than men to be discharged to long-term care and had greater disability at 6 months. Mortality and quality of life at 6 months were similar in women and men.
Conclusions — Among patients participating in the RCSN, there were no major sex differences in stroke presentation or management. Compared with men, women were more often institutionalized and had a slightly worse functional status at 6 months after stroke.
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