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Animal Models

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There have been several studies in the animal literature that point to a survival advantage for females who have sustained traumatic injury (ref).  In these animal models, the outcome differences in animal models appear related to a negative effect of testosterone and a protective effect of estrogen.

In the human literature, studies in recent years have attempted to correlate these findings in animals with human data (ref). By conducting a review of the literature, we sought to examine whether female trauma victims have a survival advantage over males (ref).

Mortality

At this time there are relatively few articles that address sex differences in mortality after trauma.

For the 11 articles that were found on mortality, the group was divided by mechanism of injury into burn injury, head injury, penetrating and blunt trauma. Overall, the studies did not demonstrate a tendency towards survival advantage for either sex. There were, however, few studies and the ones found had limitations of study design.

At present, there is no scientific evidence to suggest improved mortality rates for males or females. Further population-based study is warranted to establish any survival benefit for women or men after traumatic injury.