Women more likely to die of heart attack if doctor is male

Women more likely to survive heart attack if treated by female doctor – study

Women more likely to survive heart attack if treated by female doctor – study

A review of almost 582,000 heart attack cases over 19 years showed female patients had a significantly higher survival rate when a woman treated them in the ER, according to Seth Carnahan, associate professor of strategy at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis and part of a three-member research team on the project.

Dr. Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist at the Mayo Women's Heart Clinic, broke down one common explanation for the differences in outcomes for male and female heart attack patients - the symptoms.

Overall, the team found that female physicians outperformed their male colleagues, and their patients were, on the whole, more likely to live.

In a release from Harvard Business School, where co-author Laura Huang is an associate professor, authors suggested that while male doctors seemed to improve by treating more female patients, the quicker and less deadly solution may be to increase the numbers of female doctors in hospital emergency rooms. The gap widens with time: By five years after a heart attack nearly half of women die, compared with 36 percent of men. "If female patients tend to be more challenging for male and female doctors to diagnose and treat, the patterns we document may reflect the fact that the most skillful physicians (i.e., female physicians) provide the highest return to their skills when treating the most challenging patients (i.e., female patients)". Both sexes experience chest pain and discomfort commonly associated with a heart attack, women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

They found that female patients admitted to a hospital emergency room (ER) had a significantly higher chance of survival when another woman was in charge of their treatment.

Researchers published their findings Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They found that 13.3% of female patients seen by a male physician died, compared with 12% of women treated by another woman. Even after accounting for these factors, women were still less likely to survive when treated by a male ER doctor. And, of course, given how the female doctors fared with all patients (along with research elsewhere), it could be the case that male doctors simply aren't as skilled in general.

Emergency doctors and cardiologists, however, are wary of jumping to conclusions just yet. Or there could be a bias that favors men in the medical literature (in which heart attacks are better understood when they happen in men), leading to misdiagnoses in women.

But the gender gap closed more than three-fold to 0.2% when female physicians took charge of treatment. "And male physicians could learn a thing or two from our female colleagues about how to achieve better outcomes".

These findings represent a "fundamental catch-22 for medical providers and female patients", wrote the authors. And, according to a new study, that's partly because of how women are treated-and the gender of the doctors who treat them. There are only half as many female physicians as male ones. That could mean that "female patients are more comfortable advocating for themselves with a female physician" or that "male physicians aren't getting all the cues they need to make the diagnosis" when dealing with female patients, he said.

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