Scientists in the U.S. reviewed almost 582,000 heart attack cases over a period of 19 years.
The results show that both men and women have better outcomes for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) when treated by a female physician, but that the biggest difference between male and female physicians is in outcomes for women.
"Having training programs that are more gender neutral, or showing how men and women might present symptoms differently, could improve outcomes for female patients", Carnahan said.
In fact, in the researchers' sample, 1,500 fewer women would have died - women who were treated by male doctors - if their survival rate was the same as women treated by female physicians. There are only half as many female physicians as male ones. Most - 520,078 - were treated by male doctors, while 61,719 were treated by female physicians.More news: United Kingdom house price growth accelerates, Halifax says ZlotoNews
For women suffering from the symptoms of a heart attack, a team of researchers from Harvard Business School has a very simple recommendation that could save lives: request a woman physician.
Although women patients matched with women physicians have been studied before, this study is the first time heart attack outcomes were assessed for gender concordance.
One theory is that men may be worse at treating women, researchers said.
The research is similar to another Carnahan-Greenwood collaboration documenting how female lawyers were less likely to advance in their firms with promotions and plum assignments when they worked for politically conservative male law partners.
Nearly 12 per cent of patients die when rushed for emergency treatment for a heart attack. In addition, they found that survival rates among female patients treated by male physicians improved with an increase in the percentage of female physicians in the emergency department and an increase in the number of female patients previously treated by the physician.More news: Lombok death toll rises sharply, according to local reports
The heart-attack study authors also examined another approach: whether the presence of female doctors and experience treating female patients made any difference to their male colleagues. For one thing, doctors may not be spending the time to realize that men and women may have different symptoms, and women may have more subtle symptoms, she said.
Under female doctors, 12 per cent of women died and 11.8 per cent of men.
But the gender gap closed more than three-fold to 0.2% when female physicians took charge of treatment.
"It's important that we better understand what is causing this variation in care". This suggests that whatever female doctors are doing that's better is also transferable. Maybe they're directly teaching their male colleagues how to diagnose or treat women with heart attacks. And the impact of this is so strong, just having more women doctors in the emergency room may increase a woman's chance of survival.
Independent experts said more work was needed to see if the findings applied to United Kingdom hospitals.More news: NCAA basketball changes: Undrafted players can return to school