Sex differences in blood pressure after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jingwei Li, Sook Ching Yang, Tom J. Moullaali, Ruiqi Chen, Mark Woodward, Cheryl Carcel, Candice Delcourt, Else Charlotte Sandset, Craig Anderson, Guofang Chen, Xia Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Evidence about sex differences in blood pressure (BP) at the time of acute stroke presentation is scarce. We aimed to summarize available data on sex differences in BP at the time of acute stroke presentation, including stratification by prior history of hypertension and stroke subtype. Methods: We performed a systematic literature search across MEDLINE and Embase, from inception to 21 December 2018, to identify all population-based observational studies that reported BP at the time of acute stroke presentation. We extracted data on patient demographics, stroke-type (ischaemic or haemorrhagic), stroke severity, vascular risk factors, and SBP and DBP at the time of stroke presentation. Wherever possible, data were pooled for meta-analysis with weighted mean difference (WMD) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) using random effects meta-analysis. Results: We included 128 138 stroke patients from 43 studies. Women had higher SBP at presentation than men (WMD, 1.46; 95% CI, 0.65-2.26); this difference was significant in ischaemic stroke (1.49; 0.25-2.72 mmHg), but not in intracerebral haemorrhage (0.19; -4.21 to 4.59 mmHg). Meta regression show that sex differences in SBP were consistent with increasing age, stroke severity, other comorbidities and medication history. Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis indicates that women have higher SBP at the time of presentation with acute stroke. These differences are consistent with sex differences in hypertension patterns in older age, and may be explained by the fact that women are more likely to have a premorbid hypertension. This highlights the need for effective sex-specific blood pressure control in patients at high risk for stroke.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1991-1999
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • blood pressure
  • stroke
  • systematic review


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