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Sex differences in the presentation, care and outcomes of transient ischemic attack: results from the Ontario Stroke Registry

Li OL, Silver FL, Lichtman J, Fang J, Stamplecoski M, Wengle RS, Kapral MK. Stroke. 2016; 47(1):255-7. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Background and Purpose — Little is known about whether sex differences exist in the presentation, management, and outcomes of transient ischemic attack.

Methods — We conducted a cohort study of 5991 consecutive patients with transient ischemic attack admitted to 11 stroke centers in Ontario, Canada, between July 1, 2003, and March 31, 2008 and compared presenting symptoms, processes of care, and outcomes in women and men. We used linkages to administrative databases to evaluate mortality and recurrent vascular events within 30 days and 1 year of the initial presentation, with multivariable analyses to assess whether sex differences persisted after adjustment for age and comorbid conditions.

Results — The most common presenting symptoms for both sexes were weakness, speech impairment, and sensory deficit, with headache being slightly more frequent in women. Women were less likely than men to undergo carotid imaging, carotid endarterectomy, or receive lipid-lowering therapy. One-year mortality was slightly lower in women than in men (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.63-0.94).

Conclusions — We found only minor sex differences in the presentation and management of transient ischemic attack, suggesting that current public awareness campaigns focusing on classic warning signs are appropriate for both women and men. Future work should focus on evaluating whether lower rates of carotid imaging, endarterectomy, and lipid-lowering therapy in women reflect undertreatment of women or are appropriate based on patient eligibility.

Keywords: Stroke Cardiovascular diseases