Gender differences in the treatment of cerebrovascular disease

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

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Document Type



Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Carotid Stenosis; Endarterectomy, Carotid; Female; Humans; Male; Medicare; Patient Admission; Retrospective Studies; Sex Factors; Stroke; United States


Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have shown that women receive fewer invasive procedures for the treatment of coronary artery disease than men, but gender differences in cerebrovascular disease have not been well studied. Our objective was to explore differences in the treatment of stroke between men and women.

DESIGN: Secondary database analyses.

STUDY PARTICIPANTS: We examined the use of carotid endarterectomy in a nationally representative sample of Medicare enrollees aged 65 to 84, hospitalized for a principal diagnosis of stroke in 1992, the "all strokes group". We also studied a subgroup of patients, the "carotid disease subgroup", admitted with a principal diagnosis of precerebral arterial occlusion and stenosis or transient cerebral ischemia.

MEASUREMENTS: We determined rates of carotid endarterectomy for the all strokes group within gender and age groups and calculated corresponding female-to-male relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). We also performed similar analyses for the carotid disease subgroup. We then used logistic regression to estimate the relative risk of use of carotid endarterectomy for women, controlling for age and comorbidity.

RESULTS: The all-strokes group consisted of 3,356 women and 2,927 men, of whom 1,009 women and 990 men were in the carotid disease subgroup. The overall age-adjusted female-to-male relative risk of undergoing carotid endarterectomy for those aged 65 to 84 was 0.69 (95% CI, 0.64-0.74) in the all strokes group and 0.77 (95% CI, 0.72-0.82) in the carotid disease subgroup. In both analyses, the RR became more pronounced with increasing age. In the all strokes group, for example, the RR was 0.80 (0.70-0.92) for those aged 65 to 69 and 0.39 (0.32-0.48) for those aged 80 to 84. The RR for the all strokes group remained similar in magnitude even after controlling for comorbidity (RR, 0.63 and 95% CI, 0.59-0.70).

CONCLUSION: We conclude that women hospitalized for strokes undergo fewer carotid endarterectomies than men. Further studies are needed to examine the reasons for and implications of this gender difference.


J Am Geriatr Soc. 2000 Jul;48(7):741-5.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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Link to Article in PubMed