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Estrogen and Stroke: A Review of the Current Literature

Carwile, Erin; Wagner, Amy K.; Crago, Elizabeth; Alexander, Sheila A.

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 18-25
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e31819345f8

ABSTRACT Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability annually, and one of the larger populations for which neuroscience nurses care. Differences in gender have been identified as a risk factor for stroke repeatedly throughout the literature. The purpose of this evidence-based literature review is to provide information to healthcare professionals regarding stroke and its relationship with estrogen, the major female sex hormone. Background information on the three types of stroke is outlined, and information on estrogen compounds and hormone replacement therapy is detailed. A review of articles relating estrogen and/or hormone replacement therapy with stroke was performed. Fifty-seven articles met the criteria for inclusion in the review, 19 articles support the use of estrogen and/or an estrogen-related compound in the prevention or treatment of stroke, 6 articles claim estrogen and/or estrogen-related compounds are risk factors for stroke, and 11 articles remain inconclusive with regard to an estrogen and stroke relationship.

Erin Carwile, RN BSN, is a student in the Nurse Anesthesia Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA.

Amy K. Wagner, MD, is faculty in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.

Elizabeth Crago, RN MSN, is a research associate and student in the Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Sheila A. Alexander, RN PhD, at She is an assistant professor in the Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA.

© 2009 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses