Sex differences in the first two weeks of stroke rehabilitation


  • There may be differences in early recovery from stroke between males and females, based on performance in activities of daily living per the Barthel-100 index. Tailoring early post-stroke care based on sex may help to improve rehabilitation outcomes.

Why this matters

  • Stroke is responsible for a significant burden of disease and disability, with 13.7 million new stroke cases, 80.1 million living stroke survivors, and 116.4 million disability-adjusted life years due to stroke worldwide in 2016, per the Global Burden of Disease study.

  • There is evidence to suggest clinically meaningful differences in stroke incidence, risk factors, severity, outcome, and mortality between male and female patients.

  • Research has also suggested sex differences in stroke rehabilitation, with a trend to better rehabilitation outcomes in male patients after 8 weeks to 12 months post-stroke. However, little research has been conducted in stroke recovery within the first 2 weeks post-stroke, and whether early stroke care can be better tailored to patient sex.