How does the mortality rate of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) vary between men and women?

Updated: May 07, 2018
  • Author: Lewis J Kaplan, MD, FACS, FCCM, FCCP; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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The sex-based mortality risk of severe SIRS is unknown. Females tend to have less inflammation from the same degree of proinflammatory stimuli because of the mitigating aspects of estrogen. The reasons for this are not completely known, but estrogen sustains adrenergic receptor activity in inflammation, when, in its absence, adrenergic receptor down-regulation occurs. Thus, premenopausal females tend to have less vasoplegia and respond more vigorously to resuscitation efforts. This equates to women having a 10-year age benefit over men. The mortality rate among women with severe sepsis is similar to that of men who are 10 years younger; however, whether this protective effect applies to women with noninfectious SIRS is unknown.

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