Every year, nearly 383,000 people suffer cardiac arrest away from a hospital. For those who do so in low-income, black neighborhoods, the chances of survival are diminished.
Why? According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a person suffering from cardiac arrest has a 55 percent chance of getting CPR from a bystander in upper-income, white neighborhoods or racially mixed areas, but only a 35 percent chance of receiving CPR in a poor, black neighborhood. And for every minute that a person who is having cardiac arrest doesn’t receive CPR, the chance of survival drops by 10 percent.
The research examined the rates of bystander-initiated CPR in areas with different demographics. Researchers classified neighborhoods as high-income or low-income on the basis of a $40,000 per year household income. A neighborhood was considered white or black if more than 80 percent of the census count in the area was mostly one race or another. The cardiac arrest rates for survival varied from 0.2 percent in Detroit to 16 percent in Seattle.
The study suggests that income levels and racial demographic of where a person is stricken affect survival. Public health officials should target certain areas to boost training and education, said Comilla Sasson, the lead author. Sasson also noted that people in low-income areas may not have extra money to pay for CPR classes or they may be concerned if they help, the person might be pretending to be injured and hurt them.
Tip of the day: When giving CPR to adults, people no longer need to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Watch the hands-only CPR instructional video below:
Related story on MNN: Beware of CPR lessons on YouTube