Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Women With Heart Attack Do Better If Doc is Female

Women With Heart Attack Do Better If Doc is Female

Previous studies have shown that women are more likely than men to die of heart attacks.

A new study suggests that hospitals have a good reason to hire more female physicians for their emergency department staff. Women experiencing heart attacks are more likely to survive when treated by a female doctor than a male doctor.

Dr Carnahan said: "Our work corroborates prior research showing that female doctors tend to produce better patient outcomes than male doctors".

One problem is that most doctors are male, so matching female doctors to female patients just isn't possible much of the time. Moreover, females are somewhat more likely to experience a different kind of common symptoms of heart attack than men, as per the American Heart Association. For one, survival rates rose in emergency departments that had a higher overall percentage of female doctors, even if the attending doctor was male. In the new study everyone was more likely to survive if they saw a female physician, and a study published past year in JAMA Internal Medicine indicated all patients of female physicians had lower mortality and hospital readmission rates. But male doctors were linked to worse outcomes, particularly for women.

The research is similar to another Carnahan-Greenwood collaboration documenting how female lawyers were less likely to advance in their firms with promotions and plum assignments when they worked for politically conservative male law partners.

Huang and her colleagues also found that women with heart attacks are, on the whole, less likely to survive than men. It is a little early to say male physicians have trouble treating female heart attack patients based on these data alone, says Michelle O'Donoghue, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School who did not work on the new study.

Maureen Talbot, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, suggested the findings could also be explained by basic misunderstandings about the risk of heart attacks for women.

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The researchers looked at the census records of more than half a million patients who visited an emergency room in Florida for a heart attack, spanning from 1991 to 2010.

However, for patients treated by male physicians, the gender gap in survival more than tripled to 0.7 percent.

It can not prove it was the presence of female doctors that caused the improved survival rates. Under the care of male doctors, 13.3 percent of women died versus 12.6 percent of men - a difference roughly three times greater.

"What is convincing is that we have to do better in terms of caring for women with cardiovascular disease - all of us", Dr. Jha said. Maybe they're directly teaching their male colleagues how to diagnose or treat women with heart attacks.

A couple years ago, there was a lot of buzz about research that showed that female doctors are better than male docs.

"While this study supports this theory, more research is needed in United Kingdom hospitals to see if the bias exists here".

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