Objectives. Stroke has been for a long time one of the major health problems in both sexes. In women increased stroke-related mortality rates were noted in recent years. The aim of the study was to investigate gender differences in the prevalence of risk factors and in 30-day outcome of first ever ischemic stroke (IS) in various age groups.
Method. Data of4802patients with first ever IS (2898 males, 1904females) collected in the Lausanne Stroke Registry (LSR) in the years 1979-2000 were analyzed. The mean age of men was 63.2, and of women - 64.1 years; the difference was not significant.
Results. The prevalence of stroke risk factors was found to be significantly higher in men than in women (p<0.0002) in all the age groups under 80. In both genders below the age of 55 smoking was the most common risk factor (more freąuent in men, p < 0.0002). In those aged over 55 it was replaced by arterial hypertension, more freąuent in women in the age group over 65 (p<0.006). Irrespective of age, the prevalence of nicotinism was higher in men, and tended to decrease with age. Migraine turned out to be a significant risk factor only inyoung women (19.6%). Theprevalence of atrial fibrillation tended to increase with age in both genders, more markedly in women. The 30-day case fatality rate was higher in women than in men (44.1% vs. 41.4%, respectively; p<0.05). This difference was most pronounced in the 66-80 age group (with mortality rate of 47.7% for women and 42.3% for men, p < 0.03).
Conclusions. The prevalence of risk factors among patients with first ever IS was found to depend on sex and age. The most common risk factor in persons aged under 55 years was smoking (more freąuent in men), and in age groups over 55 - hypertension (more freąuent in women). The relatively higher freąuency of poor outcome (early fatality of stroke) in women reąuires further research. Moreover, more emphasis should be placed on stroke prevention and on stroke management in women.