Although prehospital stroke management is challenging, it is a crucial part of the acute stroke chain to enable equal access to highly specialised stroke care. It involves a critical understanding of players usually not specialized in acute stroke treatments. There is contradictory information about gender inequity in prehospital stroke detection, dispatch, and delivery to hospital stroke centers. The aim of this narrative review is to summarize the knowledge of gender differences in the first three stages of acute stroke management. Information on the detection of acute stroke symptoms by patients, their relatives, and bystanders is discussed. Women seem to have a better overall knowledge about stroke, although general understanding needs to be improved. However, older age and different social situations of women could be identified as reasons for reduced and delayed help-seeking. Dispatch and delivery lie within the responsibility of the emergency medical service. Differences in clinical presentation with symptoms mainly affecting general conditions could be identified as a crucial challenge leading to gender inequity in these stages. Improvement of stroke education has to be applied to tackle this inequal management. However, specifically designed projects and analyses are needed to understand more details of sex differences in prehospital stroke management, which is a necessary first step for the potential development of substantially improving strategies.
- acute stroke
- gender inequity