News Release 

Geisinger researchers find sex is not an independent risk factor for stroke mortality

Stroke survival rates for men and women equal among Geisinger patients

Geisinger Health System

Research News

DANVILLE, Pa. - An analysis of data collected from patients treated for ischemic stroke at Geisinger shows no disparity in outcomes based solely on sex.

Various studies have suggested that women are disproportionately affected by stroke and may have poorer stroke outcomes. Women have a longer life expectancy than men and, therefore, likely have an increased lifetime risk of stroke. Women tend to be older than men at the time of stroke and have a higher pre-stroke degree of disability or dependence in their daily activities, which may contribute to worse outcomes. Rural populations may also have a higher risk of stroke based on a greater incidence of conditions like hypertension and poorly controlled diabetes.

Researchers at Geisinger analyzed electronic health record data for 8,900 patients who had an ischemic stroke between 2004 and 2019. Overall, female patients had a higher rate of all-cause mortality following stroke. However, after controlling for comorbidities, such as atrial fibrillation, diabetes, heart failure, and chronic lung or kidney diseases, survival rates for men and women were equal.

"Our study results indicate that women may have higher crude mortality after stroke; however, sex is not an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality in the rural communities that Geisinger serves," said Vida Abedi, Ph.D., a scientist in the department of molecular and functional genomics at Geisinger and a co-author of the study. "Ischemic stroke recurrence and the composite outcome of stroke recurrence or death also did not demonstrate evidence of a sex disparity."

The results were published in Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders.

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The study is part of a larger effort by the Neuroscience Institute at Geisinger, led by Ramin Zand, M.D., a vascular neurologist and president of the American Heart Association (AHA) Northeast Pennsylvania, with a focus on addressing stroke care disparity and women's health, one of the current missions of AHA. The data analysis was led by Clare Lambert, a student at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Geisinger's nationally recognized Acute Stroke Program includes 24/7 stroke care at all of our hospitals, two Comprehensive Stroke Centers designated by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Primary Stroke Center hospitals, and research-proven care that helps people recover from stroke with fewer disabilities. To learn more, visit geisinger.org/stroke.

About Geisinger

Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes nine hospital campuses, a 550,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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