A study published in JAMA Cardiology found that people who live in predominately black neighborhoods are less likely than those in white areas to receive CPR or defibrillation from a bystander when suffering from cardiac arrest, which leads to a higher risk of death, an article in University of Washington-Harborview (UW) Heath Sciences Newsbeat said.
Health specialists at UW found that nearly 40 percent of people under cardiac arrest outside of the hospital received bystander CPR, which is close to the 47 percent average rate that people in white neighborhoods receive such care. In black neighborhoods, the rate is 18 percent.
“We clearly see that treatments and outcomes for patients with cardiac arrest in predominantly black neighborhoods are worse than those in predominantly white neighborhoods. It actually does not matter if you are black or white within the neighborhood, but the neighborhood matters," Dr. Graham Nichol, senior author and director of the University of Washington-Harborview Center for Prehospital Emergency Care, said in the article.
Disproportionate results were also found regarding external defibrillator usage. In mostly white areas, 4.5 percent of people suffering cardiac arrest received defibrillation from a bystander, with that rate being just 0.9 percent in mostly black areas.
The findings tend to affect the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims. Research found that those in mixed or mostly black areas whose hearts suddenly stop have a lower survival rate upon discharge from a hospital, compared to those in white areas. The study found that these death rates are due to lack of proper CPR and cardiac arrest education in black neighborhoods and a shortage of defibrillators.
“This is something that can be addressed,” Dr. Monique Starks, a cardiologist at the Duke Clinical Research Institute and lead author of the study, said in the article. “Organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, along with medical centers and public health departments, have a unique opportunity to address this issue with dedicated education programs that are particularly tailored for black neighborhoods. This is a relatively low-cost solution that could save lives.”