Last Updated: August 06, 2018. "The fact that gender concordance (that is, men treating men or women treating women) correlates with whether a patient survives a heart attack has implications for theory and practice".
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.
By another way of looking at the data, "female patients treated by male physicians were 1.52 per cent less likely to survive than male patients treated by female physicians".
"These results suggest a reason why gender inequality in heart attack mortality persists: most physicians are male, and male physicians appear to have trouble treating female patients", the authors write. "Male physicians may be less "deliberate" in addressing complicated patients' problems (as suggested by past research)". Women suffering heart attacks can differ from men in their symptoms, which male doctors may not as readily recognize.
"I think this paper calls attention to the issue that the medical community has been grappling with, and making strides on, for a while: Differences in patient presentation and making sure all patients get the care they need", co-author Brad Greenwood added.
His team's findings were published online August 6 in the journal PNAS.
Previous studies have shown that women are more likely than men to die of heart attacks.
For both men and women, the same advice on preventing heart attacks applies - and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 80 percent of heart disease, especially heart attacks, can be avoided by modifying lifestyle behavior.
Male doctors, you're doing great, but you may want to take some notes from your female colleagues. But the difference diminished when male doctors worked in emergency rooms with a higher percentage of female physicians.
Carnahan, along with his team of researchers from the Minnesota Twin Cities University and Harvard University, examined over 500,000 heart attack cases occurred in Florida over the span of 19 years and discovered that the women had a higher chance of survival from a heart attack when a female doctor attended her in the emergency room while they are 12% more likely to die when treated by a male doctor, said Carnahan.
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, noted that a number of factors might be at play. 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.
Goldberg also said gender affects communication style, "and communication - getting the medical history - is very important in leading to an accurate diagnosis". "And women physicians spend more time with their patients".
There's a odd gender paradox at the heart of cardiovascular disease.