AURORA, Colo. (Oct. 24, 2012) In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that those who suffer cardiac arrests in upper income, white neighborhoods are nearly twice as likely to get cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) than people who collapse in low-income, black neighborhoods.
"If you drop in a neighborhood that is 80 percent white with a median income over $40,000 a year, you have a 55 percent chance of getting CPR," said study author Comilla Sasson, MD, an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital. "If you drop in a poor, black neighborhood you have a 35 percent chance. Life or death can literally be determined by what side of the street you drop on."
The study was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Sasson, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, analyzed data from 14,225 patients who suffered cardiac arrests in 29 cities from 2005-2009. She and her colleagues used census data to determine which neighborhood the event took place in, its racial make-up and median household income. Low-income was considered at or below $40,000 a year.
"We found a direct relationship between the median household income and racial composition of a neighborhood and the probability that a person whose heart had stopped would have a bystander perform CPR," the study said. "This association was most apparent in low-income black neighborhoods where the odds of receiving bystander- initiated CPR were approximately 50 percent lower than in high-income, nonblack neighborhoods."
A number of reasons were identified for this disparity. One is the cost of CPR training. Another is a lack of outreach to minority neighborhoods by organizations that promote CPR. And there are also language barriers and cultural issues surrounding the learning and performance of CPR.
Part of the study involved conducting focu
|Contact: david kelly|
University of Colorado Denver