Reducing the damage caused by cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrests outside of a hospital setting are very common and many patients who have been resuscitated die. The medical community has responded with educational programs in CPR and installation of Automated External Defibrillators to provide a bridge to hospital care. Once the patient makes it to the hospital, recent work in hypothermia to prevent brain damage shows some promise.

Three papers presented at the 2006 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Annual Meeting, May 18-21, 2006 in San Francisco explored important aspects of these topics. Latinos Less Likely to Receive CPR

Bystander CPR (BCPR) is known to provide improved outcomes for survivors of cardiac arrest. However, there is data showing that African-Americans are less likely to receive BCPR than Whites. In the first reported study of Latino victims of cardiac arrest, it was demonstrated that Latinos received BCPR in only 12.8% of cases, compared with Caucasians who received it in 23.9% of the cases. Even after adjusting for socioeconomic indicators such as income and education, the disparity persisted.

The data come from a retrospective analysis of the Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation Evaluation in Los Angeles (CARE-LA) database combined with the California Death Statistical Master File (CDSMF). There were 1239 cases analyzed.

Lead investigator Peter C. Benson, MD, commented that "The Latino population is the fastest growing population in the United States and clearly it is of paramount importance to identify disparities affecting any historically underserved population. It is our hope that this study will bring about additional research specifically directed to addressing healthcare disparities in underserved populations."

The study is entitled "Latino victims of cardiac arrest are less likely to receive bystander CPR than Caucasians in Los Angeles" and will be presented by Peter C Benson, MD. His co-authors are Marc Eckstein MD and Sean O H


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