Women are 50% more likely to receive a wrong initial diagnosis; when they are having a heart attack, such mistakes can be fatal. People who are initially misdiagnosed have a 70% higher risk of dying. The latest studies have similarly shown that women have worse outcomes for heart operations such as valve replacements and peripheral revascularisation. As well as being misdiagnosed, women are less likely to be treated quickly, less likely to get the best surgical treatment and less likely to be discharged with the optimum set of drugs. None of this is excusable, but is it understandable? What is behind this bias and how can how it be fixed? Sian Harding, emeritus professor of cardiac pharmacology at Imperial College London, looks at the evidence in this Guardian article.
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