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Living in poor neighborhood a risk factor for out-of-hospital cardiac death
Date:9/20/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio People living in poor neighborhoods are at higher risk of dying of heart disease outside a hospital than are people who live in wealthier neighborhoods, research suggests.

The researchers analyzed the association between neighborhoods of differing socioeconomic status and out-of-hospital deaths caused by coronary heart disease in four U.S. communities between 1992 and 2002. In each community, and among whites and African Americans, those living in the poorer neighborhoods had a higher risk for these deaths.

Neighborhood socioeconomic status can be determined by a number of measures, generally including residents' household or family income, education levels and occupations.

The data were obtained from a national study monitoring the risk of heart disease in four communities: Washington County, Md.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Jackson, Miss.; and Forsyth County, N.C.

According to the American Heart Association, almost 80 percent of cardiac arrests that take place outside a hospital occur at home and are witnessed by a family member. Yet only 6.4 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive. Almost 60 percent of the deaths examined in this study were classified as sudden cardiac deaths.

Though the study did not examine the reasons for the differing levels of risk, previous research has suggested that health disparities based on socioeconomic status typically relate to differing levels of access to health care, the presence or absence of environmental stressors, and the level of social support among neighborhood residents.

"From a public health perspective, it's useful to monitor these associations over time to see what's happening," said Randi Foraker, an assistant professor of epidemiology and cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University and lead author of the study. "Perhaps there's something on a community level that could be done to help reverse those trends and take those inequities aw
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Contact: Randi Foraker
rforaker@cph.osu.edu
614-292-9916
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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