Female heart attack patients are more likely to survive if a female DOCTOR treats them, study reveals | Top Stories
In a review of nearly 582,000 heart attack cases over 19 years, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis , found that women had a significantly higher survival rate when a woman treated them in the ER.
The study also suggested that women had a better chance of survival with male doctors who have several female colleagues working with them in the ER.
However, it noted they’d still be better off with a female doctor.
The study did not mention, however, the survival rates of male patients treated by either female or male doctors.
According to one of three researchers behind the project, associate professor of strategy at the Olin Business School, Seth Carnahan, the results mirror similar studies of gender differences in medical outcomes, but the difference is the stakes.
“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,” said Carnahan.
In order to glean the results, the research team reviewed a tonne of anonymous medical data from Florida hospitals from 1991 to 2010. This data allowed the team to measure important factors like the age, race, and medical history of patients, hospital quality and more.
But despite the factors, the team still found that female patients were less likely to survive heart attacks than male patients and that gender differences in survival rates were the highest under male physicians.
For patients treated by female physicians, the team found that the gender disparity in survival rates was about 0.2 percent. In other words, 11.8 percent of men died, versus about 12 percent of women.
However, for patients treated by male physicians, the gender gap in survival more than tripled to 0.7 percent. In that case, 12.6 percent of men died compared to 13.3 percent of women.
“Our work corroborates prior research showing that female doctors tend to produce better patient outcomes than male doctors,” added 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.”