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Less Bystander CPR Done in Poor, Black Neighborhoods, Study Shows
Date:10/25/2012

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- People whose hearts stop abruptly are only half as likely to be given bystander-initiated CPR in poor black neighborhoods as they are in higher-income white areas, a new study indicates.

Analyzing the link between median income and neighborhood racial composition with the performance of bystander CPR, researchers also noted the odds for such CPR were also reduced for those suffering cardiac arrest in low-income white and integrated neighborhoods along with high-income black ones. The bystander CPR rate in high-income integrated enclaves, however, was comparable to that in high-income white ones.

"Location, location, location is crucial in real estate, and I would say the same for cardiac arrest," said study co-author Dr. Comilla Sasson, an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "Working as an emergency room doctor for more than 10 years now, I realized that time and again I'd see patients in black and lower-income neighborhoods not have anyone start CPR. It's completely dependent on where you have a heart episode."

The study is published Oct. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

More than 300,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States, according to the study, with survival outcomes varying markedly by region but typically below 10 percent. Some of this variation can be explained by different rates of bystander-initiated CPR, which is administered, on average, during fewer than one-third of all cardiac arrests.

Researchers looked at surveillance data submitted from 29 U.S. sites over four years to the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES). Of 14,225 recorded cardiac arrests, bystander CPR was provided to slightly more than 4,000 patients, 8 percent of whom survived to be discharged from the hospital
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