Women more likely to survive heart attacks if treated by female doctor | Innovation
An analysis of more than 580,000 heart attacks found that women are slightly less likely to die from a heart attack if a female doctor is in charge of their hospital treatment.
“You have highly trained experts with life or death on the line, and yet the gender match between the physician and the patient seems to matter a great deal,” says Seth Carnahan, from Washington University in St Louis.
Carnahan and his colleagues trawled through anonymous patient data from Florida hospitals from 1991 to 2010, recording factors such as age, race and medical history. Even after taking these factors into account, they found that female patients were slightly less likely to survive heart attacks than male patients.
When patients were treated by male doctors, 12.6 per cent of men died compared with 13.3 per cent of women.
The gender gap was much smaller but still present when female physicians took charge of treatment. In these cases, 11.8 per cent of men died, compared with 12 per cent of women.
“Our work corroborates prior research showing that female doctors tend to produce better patient outcomes than male doctors,” says Carnahan. “The novel part of what we are doing is showing that the benefit of having a female doctor is particularly stark for a female patient.”
Journal reference: PNAS
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