Women who have a heart attack are more likely to survive if they are treated by a female doctor in hospital, a major US study suggests. An analysis of 580,000 heart attack cases over 19 years found 13.3% died after being treated by a man compared with 12% who were cared for by a woman.
Their chances were also improved if treated by a male doctor who had a lot of female colleagues in his team.
One theory is that men may be worse at treating women, researchers said.
Researchers looked through anonymous patient data from Florida hospitals between 1991 and 2010.
After taking factors such as age, race and medical history into account, they found all patients had a better chance of surviving a heart attack if they were treated by a female doctor, but the difference in outcomes was biggest in women.
When patients were treated by male doctors, 12.6% of men died compared with 13.3% of women.
But when female physicians took charge of treatment, those percentages fell - to 11.8% of men and 12% of women.
Lead scientist Dr Seth Carnahan, from Washington University, in St Louis, said: "Our work corroborates prior research showing that female doctors tend to produce better patient outcomes than male doctors.
"The novel part of what we are doing is showing that the benefit of having a female doctor is particularly stark for a female patient."
- Source: BBC News