Stroke in Older Women

April 2016: Hubbard IJ, Vo K, Forder PM, Byles JE (2016) Stroke, physical function, and death over a 15-year period in older Australian women. Stroke, 47, 1060-1067, DOI: 10:1161/STROKEAHA.115.011456 at


Background and Purpose—As populations age, an increasing number of older women are living with stroke. This study looks at long-term outcomes for women with stroke, comparing mortality rates for women with poor physical function (PF) and those with higher levels of function. The purpose is to understand not only how long women might live after a stroke, but also how long they live with physical disability.

Methods—The study uses 15 years of data on women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health 1921 to 1926 cohort. The risk of stroke and the risk of stroke and poor PF were estimated using Cox proportional hazard model. Among women who reported a stroke during the study period, mortality risk was compared according to their physical functioning level after that stroke.

Results—Almost half of the women who had a stroke and poor PF survived past 10 years. The 10-year mortality rate was 37% for women with stroke and adequate PF and 51% for women with stroke and poor PF at the time of the stroke (hazard rate ratio, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.18–1.95; P=0.0015 adjusting for demographic and health covariates).

Conclusions—This study provides evidence of the long-term outcomes of stroke among older women, with women living for many years with poor PF. This outcome has important implications for the women’s quality of life during their later years and in understanding the burden of disability associated with stroke.

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