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Poststroke Disability: Association Between Sex and Patient-Reported Outcomes

Originally published 2023;54:345–353


    Ischemic stroke (IS) is a leading cause of long-term disability with sex-specific differences in outcomes. Identifying the influential factors that contribute to sex-specific disparities in stroke outcomes, therefore, holds potential to develop individualized interventions for reducing long-term disability. Further, investigating the association between sex and Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) provides additional information on the individual impact and heterogeneity of IS. We aimed to identify sex-specific differences in stroke outcomes and relationship with PROMs in IS patients with 3-month follow-up.


    Between February 2017 and February 2020, a total of 410 patients admitted with IS to the Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, were enrolled in this prospective cohort. At 3-month poststroke, patients were assessed for Barthel Index, modified Rankin Scale, and PROM-10 questionnaires. T scores for physical and mental health were determined from the summing of PROM-10 responses in each domain. Regression analysis was performed to identify sex-specific determinants of functional and patient-reported outcomes.


    At baseline, 242 participants were male (mean age, 65 years) and 168 were female (mean age, 70 years). Groups had similar rates of cardiovascular risk factors, admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and discharge modified Rankin Scale. At follow-up, male participants were more likely to have better rates of T Physical and Barthel Index. In regression analysis, PROMs T Physical (odds ratio, 1.06; P=0.01), Barthel Index (odds ratio, 1.06; P=0.01), and modified Rankin Scale score of ≥2 (odds ratio, 2.60; P=0.01) were associated with female sex. Female sex was also associated with lower scores for PROMs Physical subcomponents and with patient-reported general health and emotional problems.


    Women have worse outcomes after ischemic stroke, including objective measures of functional disability and patient-reported outcomes. Incorporating PROMs into IS outcome measures may offer additional insight into sex-specific differences in stroke recovery and outcomes.


    For Sources of Funding and Disclosures, see page 352.

    This manuscript was sent to Harold P. Adams, Jr, Guest Editor, for review by expert referees, editorial decision, and final disposition.

    Presented in part at the European Stroke Organisation Conference, Lyon, France, May 4–6, 2022.

    Supplemental Material is available at

    Correspondence to: Lara Carvalho de Oliveira, MD, J. Philip Kistler Stroke Research Center, Ste 300, 175 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114. Email


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