Women Are More Likely To Survive Heart Attacks When Under Care Of Female Doctors

"But even here, we see a glass ceiling on life.”

When treated by female doctors, women suffering from heart attacks are more likely to survive, according to a new study released by the National Academy of Science.

Study authors Brad Greenwood, Seth Carnahan, and Laura Huang spent two decades analyzing the different treatment men and women receive from male and female physicians at a Florida hospital.

Their results showed that women are more likely to die when treated by a male doctor. "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 study reads.

Huang, a professor of organizational psychology at Harvard Business School told The Atlantic: "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. But even here, we see a glass ceiling on life."

According to The Atlantic, sex-biased research has contributed to women dying from heart attacks at a higher rate than men. Another reason that women are more likely to die from a heart attack is because symptoms can differ between men and women.

Greenwood, an Associate Professor, Information & Decision Sciences at the University of Minnesota noted in an interview with The Guardian that other factors could also contribute, such as women patients being more comfortable with sharing personal information with another woman.

"One could be those female patients are more comfortable advocating for themselves with a female physician," Greenwood told The Guardian.  "[Or] it could be because women are more likely to present atypically and female physicians are better at picking up cues than their male colleagues."

Cover image via sheff / Shutterstock.

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