Neighborhoods matter: who gets CPR?

A University of Chicago study of more than 4,000 people who suffered a cardiac arrest found that the likelihood of having bystanders perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is associated with two neighborhood characteristics: the frequency of cardiac arrests and the racial mix of the neighborhood.

More cardiac arrests in a neighborhood increased the odds of a victim receiving CPR, probably by raising the community's awareness of the risks of sudden cardiac death and knowledge of CPR. Rapid CPR can double or triple the odds of survival.

More surprising, those in racially integrated neighborhoods were more than twice as likely to receive CPR. In those neighborhoods, which are somewhat uncommon in Chicago, more than 40 percent of those having a cardiac arrest received help from a bystander.

People who had a cardiac arrest in a predominately white neighborhood -- defined as fewer than ten percent African American or Hispanic residents -- were less than half as likely to get CPR as those in an integrated neighborhood. The frequency was lower still in predominately black neighborhoods. Most of the arrests (84.7%) occurred at the victim's home.

Neither socioeconomic status, nor the number of older residents, nor the occupational or educational characteristics of the neighborhoods appeared to influence CPR provision.

"We believe this is the first report of a negative health effect of living in a segregated white neighborhood," said lead author Jack Iwashyna, a third-year student in the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago who began the project as a graduate student in the University's Harris School of Public Policy.

The study, "Neighborhoods Matter: A Population-Based Study of Provision of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation," was published in the October issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine. It was designed to help determine why so few people receive CPR.

Although there were witnesses to the moment of arrest in nearl

Contact: John Easton
University of Chicago Medical Center

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