Pneumonia more likely to kill older men than women

April 30th, 2009 - 2:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 30 (IANS) Pneumonia is more likely to kill older men than women because of differing gender-based biological responses to the infection.
“Our study found that men with CAP (community-acquired pneumonia) were less likely to survive after an infection compared to women,” said Sachin Yende, assistant professor in critical care medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPSM) and study co-author.

Data were gathered from the multi-centre Genetic and Inflammatory Markers of Sepsis (GenIMS) study. Participants were enrolled upon emergency department admission at 28 academic and community hospitals in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan and Tennessee from 2001 to 2003.

The study included 2,320 subjects, with a mean age of 64.9 years, 1,136 of whom were men. The men were sicker on admission, more likely to be smokers, and had at least one chronic health condition, such as cardiac disease or cancer.

Severe sepsis (presence of pus-forming bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues) occurred in 588 (31 percent) subjects. Of these, about half had severe sepsis on their first day of hospitalisation.

Men had a higher risk than women of death at 30 days (7 percent vs. 4.5 percent), 90 days (11.4 percent vs 8.6 percent) and one year (21 percent vs 16 percent), said an UPSM release.

“Even compared to women with an equivalent illness severity, men were more likely to die,” Yende noted. “Survival differences persist up to one year after the initial hospitalisation, when most patients had recovered from the pneumonia and left the hospital.”

“To our knowledge, this is the largest study comparing biological response to infection between men and women,” said senior study author Derek C. Angus, professor in critical care medicine at UPSM and principal study investigator.

The findings were published online in the Critical Care Medicine.

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