Men benefit more than women from tPA stroke treatment

March 26, 2007

Men are more likely than women to benefit from the use of tissue plasminogen activator within three hours after stroke, according to a study published in the March 13 issue of Neurology.

Men are more likely than women to benefit from the use of tissue plasminogen activator within three hours after stroke, according to a study published in the March 13 issue of Neurology.

The study involved 333 people who were treated with tPA. It found that men were more than three times as likely as women to achieve functional independence at three months after tPA treatment, despite the fact that fewer men than women survived three months after treatment.

Other studies have shown that women have worse outcomes after stroke. The new study shows that this is also true when women are treated with tPA, said author Dr. Mitchell S.V. Elkind, an associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center.

"There are potential biological reasons why women may not respond as well as men to tPA, including the possibility that women have higher levels of substances in the blood that can cause blood clots, as has been seen in women with heart disease," Elkind said.

He said it is possible that postmenopausal women, whether or not on hormone replacement therapy, are at greater risk of not responding well to tPA.

The study also found patients with stroke in the left side of the brain, compared with stroke in the right side, were more than twice as likely to have good outcomes at three months and to survive three months after tPA.

Other studies have shown that people with strokes in the left side of the brain have a better recovery than people with strokes on the right side of the brain, but this is the first time this result has been shown in people who received tPA, Elkind said.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Stroke care demands radical approach

Merci device plus tPA unblocks 68% of clogged intracranial arteries

Stroke imaging data lag behind technology

MRI outperforms CT for initial stroke evaluation