Women more likely to die of heart attack if they have a male doctor, study suggests

Pedro Marrero
Aug 08, 2018
10:40 P.M.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) have examined patient gender inequalities in survival rates following heart attacks based on the gender of the treating doctor.


Based on a census of heart attack patients admitted to Florida hospitals between 1991 and 2010, the PNAS has found higher mortality among female patients who are treated by male doctors.

Patients of both genders experienced similar outcomes when treated by female doctors, suggesting that particular challenges come when male doctors treat female patients.

The study further found that male doctors with more exposure to female patients and other female doctors have more success treating female patients.

The experience plays a significant role in survival rates. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa.


In the last 40 years, cardiovascular diseases have increased in women because they have changed their habits.

They smoke more than before, they have entered the working world without reducing their tasks in the home, they care less for their diet after a certain age and their stress levels have increased.

On the other hand, the coronary arteries of women tend to be weaker than men’s; they are smaller in diameter and more tortuous. That's why they are more difficult to operate.


In addition, there is a lack of awareness on the part of the society of the infarct symptomatology. Only 39% of women recognize the symptoms of a heart attack compared to 57% of the men that are well informed about it.

One of the reasons is that the symptoms in women are much less apparent than those in men. Women do not have pain in their chests or arms, but they feel more tired or wanting to do fewer things.


This causes them to minimize their symptoms, or confuse them, and thus is more difficult to diagnose. This combo finally causes mortality rate in women to be higher.

Health ads shift the focus to breast cancer, so trips to a gynecologist are the norm.

However, the leading cause of death among women is their heart, despite the fact that nowadays women die more than men due to cardiovascular problems.

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