Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Gender of medics vital in surviving a coronary

Gender of medics vital in surviving a coronary

Female patients are less likely than males to survive the years after a heart attack, even after age is accounted for - and a recent study found this is partly due to the gender of the physicians who treat them, The Atlantic reports. And though data shows that male doctors tend to improve in their treatment of female heart patients over time, the study points out that this waiting game could be a deadly one.

"The most important thing that readers might want to take from our study is the difference in heart attack symptoms across men and women", Carnahan said.

Much like shoes or skinny jeans, heart attacks can fit women a little differently than men.

For patients treated by female physicians, 11.8 percent of men died against about 12 percent of women.

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"There are inequalities in a lot of different contexts, but when someone is suffering from a heart attack, you might expect that there would be no gender differences because every physician will go in trying to save their patient's life", says Huang, a professor of organizational psychology at Harvard Business School. While women enter medical school at the same rate as men, they experience higher rates of both burnout and suicide during their time in the field, and men are more likely to advance to higher positions - both largely attributable to gender bias.

For the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analyzed more than 500,000 cases of heart attack patients admitted to Florida hospitals between 1991 and 2010.

Another possible factor could be that female heart attack patients are entering hospitals with gender-specific symptoms that are more readily recognized by female physicians, Greenwood added.

Rather than rely on women to act as test dummies for inexperienced doctors, though, it'd better to just stock our emergency rooms and health care centres with more women doctors.

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The comparative lack of research means that "male physicians might not pick up on the atypical presentation symptoms women more often show, or at least not to the degree that female physicians do", the study's lead author, Brad Greenwood, told CNN.

Men and women alike had similar results after being treated by female doctors, "suggesting that unique challenges arise when male physicians treat female patients", researchers wrote.

'One is that women tend to be more conscientious as doctors and have more social intelligence, so could pick up on signs of a heart attack.

"The key takeaway is that male physicians appear to have trouble treating female patients", Greenwood said. They suggest more female doctors are needed within emergency departments, and say training of doctors needs to be improved to make sure heart disease is not seen only as a male issue. Given the cost of male physicians' learning on the job, it may be more effective to increase the presence of female physicians within the emergency department. And, according to a new study, that's partly because of how women are treated-and the gender of the doctors who treat them.

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