Latinos and Blacks Less Likely To Get Lifesaving CPR

Latinos and blacks are 30 percent less likely to be helped with CPR than white people, according to a recent study. That includes help from family members or bystanders on the street.
The study looked at more than 14,000 people in 29 U.S. cities. and show how race, income and various neighborhood attributes affect willingness to offer CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), according to a recent NPR article.
For their study, researchers looked at the makeup of neighborhoods and also the race of the victims. Researchers found that CPR was less likely to be given in poor areas. Socioeconomic status makes more difference than the neighborhood’s racial makeup, said lead author Dr. Comilla Sasson, of the University of Colorado in Denver.
More than 300,000 people suffer cardiac arrest every year. Most don’t survive. Few people in poor neighborhoods got CPR, but those who did doubled their odds of survival.
Sasson said the study results should prompt public outcry — especially since most people who suffer cardiac arrest in non-hospital settings won’t survive and those statistics haven’t changed in 30 years. “We can’t accept that anymore,” she said. “It shouldn’t matter where I drop to have someone help me.”
One aspect that could change future results is experts have revised how bystanders should give CPR. An article in Circulation magazine about the new guidelines for CPR stated, “Although technology, such as that incorporated in automated external defibrillators (AEDs), has contributed to increased survival from cardiac arrest, no initial intervention can be delivered to the victim of cardiac arrest unless bystanders are ready, willing, and able to act.”
The new American Heart Association CPR guidelines say:

  • A compression rate of at least 100/min (a change from “approximately” 100/min)
  • A compression depth of at least 2 inches (5 cm) in adults and a compression depth of approximately 1.5 inches [4 cm] in infants and 2 inches [5 cm] in children).
  • Allowing for complete chest recoil after each compression
  • Minimizing interruptions in chest compressions
  • Avoiding excessive ventilation

The new guidelines emphasize the chest compressions over the breathing, which has been a hindrance for some people in the past.
The American Heart Association Connecticut chapter offers CPR training. More information is available by going to its website.
The study appeared in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers analyzed data from 2005-2009 from a cardiac arrest registry coordinated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University. They also included U.S. Census data from Atlanta; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Houston; Nashville; and San Francisco.
 

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