Interventional cardiologists' gender doesn't affect patient outcomes, study suggests

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A new study contradicts the suggestion that patients have better outcomes when treated by a physician of the same gender — at least in the field of interventional cardiology. 

The study, published May 17 in Catheterizations and Cardiovascular Interventions, analyzed coronary angioplasty or stenting procedures performed by 385 male and 18 female interventional cardiologists at 48 Michigan hospitals. 

Coronary angioplasties performed by female cardiologists were more frequently rated as appropriate compared to procedures done by male counterparts. Female physicians were also more likely to prescribe recommended medical treatments than male physicians. 

There was no difference in death, kidney injury, major bleeding or blood transfusions between male and female cardiologists.

"While the overall care processes and outcomes in Michigan were great, and similar for operators of either sex, the female physicians scored higher on appropriateness and post-procedural therapy," lead author Prasanthi Yelavarthy, MD, house officer and chief resident of internal medicine at Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine, said in a news release. "These findings would benefit female trainees who are considering interventional cardiology but are concerned about perceived barriers."

Women are very underrepresented in the field — they account for only 4.5 percent of interventional cardiologists in the U.S. and perform just 3 percent of cases, according to the release.

To view the full study, click here.

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