Women More Likely to Survive Heart Attacks with a Female Doctor

Women More Likely to Survive Heart Attacks with a Female Doctor

Women are more likely to survive a heart attack if they are treated by a female doctor in hospital, a major study has shown.

Other past studies have shown that women are more likely to adhere to recommendations on preventative care, and require more preventative tests.

Although it is helpful to keep these findings in mind, no one should wait to be treated in an emergency situation - especially with heart attacks where early treatment matters.

Researchers scrutinising data from almost 582,000 heart attack patients found that women treated by male doctors were 1.52 per cent less likely to survive than men treated by female doctors, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This, according to a study led by Seth Carnahan of Washington University in St. Louis. In this case, 11.8pc of men died compared with 12pc of women. If a heart attack patient is a woman and her emergency physician is a man, he says, her risk of death suddenly rises by about 12 percent. In other words, the gender gap nearly tripled.

A study found that 13.3 per cent died after being treated by a man, against 12 per cent of those treated by a woman.

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The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is part of a growing body of work exploring how a doctor's identity shapes the health of their patients.

A truly incredible study claims a woman who has a heart attack should probably insist on being treated by a female doctor. Is that because their bodies are inherently more tricky? Reuters frames it this way: If 1,000 women went to the ER with a heart attack, 15 more would die if treated by a man. Survival rates also increased if there were many female physicians in the ER, suggesting that female doctors assist their male colleagues in diagnosis, per the Guardian. Women patients only fare worse than men when their doctor is male. Are women more observant?

These findings raise an unavoidable question: Are women better doctors? Are they calmer under pressure? The records not only detailed the patients' ultimate fates, but also provided the names of their attending doctors, which the researchers used to figure out their gender. They suggest future studies that can begin to elucidate the mechanism driving the emergency room gender split.

Second, women tend to delay seeking treatment (perhaps because they think they can't possibly be having a heart attack). The researchers suggested pairing doctors and patients by gender when it's possible, but that may be hard when there aren't as many women doctors available. Women doctors, in 2017, earned 27.7 percent less than their male counterparts, an average of $105,000 less a year.

One possible reason for this is that female physicians tend to share more information with patients and to focus more on partnership and patient participation while Male physicians tend to stick to "the facts", emphasizing the patient history and physical exam. "And male physicians could learn a thing or two from our female colleagues about how to achieve better outcomes".

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