Health care and outcome of critically ill patients are marked by gender-related differences. Several studies have shown that male patients in intensive care units (ICU) more often receive mechanical ventilation, dialysis, pulmonary arterial catheterization (PAC), and central venous catheterization (CVC). We investigated gender-related differences in ICU treatment and mortality.
This retrospective, single-center study analyzed adult ICU patients admitted to the University Medical Center Regensburg between January 2010 and December 2017. Illness severity was measured with the Simplified Acute Physiology Score II (SAPS II) at ICU admission. We evaluated the intensity of ICU treatment according to the implementation of tracheostomy and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). We then assessed gender-related differences in the duration of mechanical ventilation and other invasive monitoring (PAC) and treatment methods (CVC, endotracheal intubation rate, and dialysis). ICU treatment and mortality data were obtained from an electronic data capture system. After adjusting for age, reason for hospitalization, and SAPS II score, we assessed the influence of gender on the intensity of ICU treatment using multivariable logistic regression. Odds ratios (OR) for the logistic regression models and incidence rate ratios (IRR) for the negative binomial regression models were calculated as effect estimates together with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). A P value of <.05 was considered significant.
The study analyzed 26,711 ICU patients (64.8% men). The ICU mortality rate was 8.8%. Illness severity, ICU, and hospital mortality did not differ by gender. Women were older than men (62.6 vs 61.3 years; P < .001) at ICU admission. After multivariable adjustment, men were more likely to undergo tracheostomy (OR = 1.39 [1.26–1.54]), ECMO (OR = 1.37 [1.02–1.83]), dialysis (OR = 1.29 [1.18–1.41]), and PAC insertion (OR = 1.81 [1.40–2.33]) and had a longer duration of mechanical ventilation than women (IRR = 1.07 [1.02–1.12]). The frequency of endotracheal intubation (OR = 1.04 [0.98–1.11]) and placement of CVC (OR = 1.05 [0.98–1.11]) showed no gender-specific differences. Of ICU nonsurvivors, men were more likely to undergo tracheostomy (20.1% vs 15.3%; P = .004) and dialysis (54% vs 46.4%; P < .001) than women and had a longer duration of mechanical ventilation (6.3 vs 5.4 days; P = .015).
After adjustment for severity of disease and outcome, ICU treatment differs between men and women. Men were more likely than women to undergo tracheostomy and ECMO.