Sex differences in quality of life after stroke were explained by patient factors, not clinical care: evidence from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry

H. T. Phan, S. L. Gall, C. L. Blizzard, N. A. Lannin, A. G. Thrift, C. S. Anderson, J. Kim, R. S. Grimley, H. C. Castley, M. F. Kilkenny, D. A. Cadilhac, on behalf of theAuSCR Consortium, Stroke123 Investigators

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Background and purpose: Women may receive stroke care less often than men. We examined the contribution of clinical care on sex differences and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) after stroke. Methods: We included first-ever strokes registered in the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry (2010–2014) with HRQoL assessed between 90 and 180 days after onset (EQ-5D-3L instrument) that were linked to hospital administrative data (up to 2013). Study factors included sociodemographics, comorbidities, walking ability on admission (stroke severity proxy) and clinical care (e.g. stroke unit care). Responses to the EQ-5D-3L were transformed into a total utility value (−0.516 ‘worse than death’ to 1 ‘best’ health). Quantile regression models, adjusted for confounding factors, were used to determine median differences (MD) in utility scores by sex. Results: Approximately 60% (6852/11 418) of stroke survivors had an EQ-5D-3L assessment (median 139 days; 44% female). Compared with men, women were older (median age 77.1 years vs. men 71.2 years) and fewer could walk on admission (37.9% vs. men 46.1%, P < 0.001). Women had lower utility values than men, and the difference was explained by age and stroke severity, but not clinical care [MDadjusted = −0.039, 95% confidence interval: −0.056, −0.021]. Poorer HRQoL was observed in younger men (aged <65 years), particularly those with more comorbidities, and in older women (aged ≥75 years). Conclusions: Stroke severity and comorbidities contribute to the poorer HRQoL in young men and older women. Further studies are needed to understand age–sex interaction to better inform treatments for different subgroups and ensure evidence-based treatments to reduce the severity of stroke are prioritized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-478
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • cerebrovascular diseases
  • cohort study
  • epidemiology
  • neurological disorders
  • quality of life
  • sex difference
  • stroke

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