Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: More patient gender-based differences in risk evaluation among male general practitioners

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Abstract

Objective:

Our objective was to analyse general practitioner (GP) cardiovascular risk assessment of patients for primary prevention while considering the gender of both the GP and the patient.

Methods:

This study consisted of an observational survey of GPs who were internship supervisors in the Paris metropolitan area. Each of 52 volunteer GPs completed a self-administered questionnaire regarding their own characteristics and randomly selected 70 patients from their patient list. Dependent variables from the patient files included the presence of information about risk factors necessary to assess the patient's cardiovascular risk according to the French scale and the Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) scale. Analyses used mixed logistic models with a random intercept and adjusted for patient and physician characteristics.

Results:

Both cardiovascular risk scales could be assessed less frequently in women than in men (odds ratio (OR) = 0.64 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.5-0.8) for the French scale and OR = 0.63 (95% CI: 0.5-0.8) for the SCORE scale). These gender differences were less substantial when the patients were seen by female (for the SCORE scale OR = 0.72 (95% CI: 0.5-1.01)) compared with male physicians (OR = 0.56 (95% CI: 0.4-0.7)). The patients who were least well assessed for cardiovascular risk were women seen by male physicians.

Conclusion:

Even before the onset of cardiovascular disease, women patients receive less satisfactory preventative management than men do, and these differences are even more marked when the physician is a man. More attention to the influence of gender stereotypes is needed in medical training in order to combat the inequalities that they cause.

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