BACKGROUND: Limited data are available on sex-related disparities in long-term outcomes after stroke. We estimated sex differences in various stroke long-term outcomes among survivors after stroke in a prospective 25-year follow-up study.
METHODS: Individuals recruited to the South London Stroke Register, an ongoing multi-ethnic urban-based population stroke register, from 1995 onward were included in the analyses (n=6687). The outcomes were death, subsequent stroke, activity of daily living, instrumental activity of daily living, cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, and health-related quality of life. Kaplan-Meier curves were generated for mortality, stroke recurrence, and recurrence-free survival by sex and Cox proportional hazards model used to model sex differences up to 25 years. Generalized estimating equation were used to model sex differences in risk of self-reported stroke outcomes over 10 years poststroke outcomes, adjusting for age, preexisting activity of daily living, case-mix, stroke subtypes, and other potential confounding risk factors.
RESULTS: There were 49% women (mean age, 72 years; SD, 15.6) and 51% men (mean age, 67 years; SD, 14.3) in 6687 participants. Compared with men, women had 9% (95% CI, 3%-15%) lower covariate-adjusted risk of death and 6% (0%-13%) lower risk of stroke recurrence or death. Generally, women had significantly poorer outcomes in activity of daily living and anxiety than men, and the sex differences persisted to up to 5 years after stroke. Women also had poorer health-related quality of life in physical (β=-2.06 [95% CI, -3.01 to -1.10]) and mental domains (β=-1.48 [95% CI, -2.44 to -0.52]). Although not significant, there was a suggestive trend for poorer outcomes in cognitive impairment and depression in women. No significant difference in stroke recurrence were found between men and women.
CONCLUSIONS: Female patients with stroke tended to have better covariate-adjusted survival but poorer outcomes among survivors than male patients, with deficits persisting to up to 5 years poststroke.