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Underlying reasons for sex difference in survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest - a mediation analysis.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Previous studies have indicated a poorer survival among women following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), but the mechanisms explaining this difference remains largely uncertain.This study aimed to assess the survival after OHCA among women and men and explore the role of potential mediators, such as resuscitation characteristics, prior comorbidity, and socioeconomic factors.

METHODS: This was a population-based cohort study including emergency medical service-treated OHCA reported to the Swedish Registry for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in 2010-2020, linked to nationwide Swedish healthcare registries. The relative risks (RR) of 30-day survival were compared among women and men, and a mediation analysis was performed to investigate the importance of potential mediators.

RESULTS: 43,226 OHCAs were included, of which 14,249 (33.0%) were women. Women were older and had a lower proportion of shockable initial rhythm. The crude 30-day survival among women was 6.2% compared to 10.7% for men (RR 0.58, 95% CI = 0.54-0.62). Stepwise adjustment for shockable initial rhythm attenuated the association to RR 0.85 (95% CI = 0.79-0.91). Further adjustments for age and resuscitation factors attenuated the survival difference to null (RR 0.98; 95% CI = 0.92-1.05). Mediation analysis showed that shockable initial rhythm explained approximately 50% of the negative association of female sex on survival. Older age and lower disposable income were the second and third most important variables, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Women have a lower crude 30-day survival following OHCA compared to men. The poor prognosis is largely explained by a lower proportion of shockable initial rhythm, older age at presentation and lower income.

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