There does not appear to be a relationship between operator and patient gender and outcome in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), according to the results of a study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2), published in Catheterizations and Cardiovascular Interventions.
Authors of the study sought to examine the association of operator sex with appropriateness and outcomes of PCI, given that recent studies have suggested that physician sex may impact outcomes for specific patient cohorts—something that has not been tested in PCI patients.
The DISCO—Does interventionalists’ sex impact coronary outcomes?—study looked at procedures performed by 385 male interventional cardiologists, and 18 female interventional cardiologists at 48 non-federal hospitals across the state of Michigan, USA. Female interventional cardiologists continue to be under-represented and only perform a small percentage of cases, with women accounting for only 4.5% of interventional cardiologists and performing only 3% of procedures, the study’s authors report.
Despite interventional cardiology remaining a male-dominated specialty, female physicians in this field stand out as “excellent practitioners”, authors of the study claim. They report that procedures carried out by female physicians were more frequently rated as appropriate as compared to procedures performed by their male counterparts, among those studied.
Female interventional cardiologists also more frequently prescribe recommended medical therapies than male interventional cardiologists. No differences in death, kidney injury, major bleeding or blood transfusions were found between patients treated by male or female interventional 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 These findings would benefit female trainees who are considering interventional cardiology but are concerned about perceived barriers,” says the lead author of the study, Prasanthi Yelavarthy, (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA).