HealthDay News — In cases of cardiac arrest, the racial make-up of the neighborhood may determine the likelihood of receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from a passer-by or having access to a public defibrillator, according to a study published online in JAMA Cardiology.

Researchers analyzed cardiac arrest data from 7 US cities: Birmingham, Alabama; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Using US Census data, the study authors also examined the demographic information of neighborhoods within these cities. The team identified 22,816 cases in which cardiac arrest occurred outside of a hospital during a 4-year period, starting in 2008. Overall, 39.5% of those who experienced cardiac arrest outside of the hospital received bystander CPR.

The investigators noted, however, rates of bystander CPR were 43% in white neighborhoods, compared to only 18% in black neighborhoods. Similarly, use of an automated external defibrillator occurred more often in white areas. In these neighborhoods, 4.5% of cardiac arrest victims received bystander defibrillation .9% of the victims in black neighborhoods. These racial disparities dramatically reduced rates of survival in mostly black neighborhoods, the researchers noted.

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“Bystander treatments and survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are significantly lower in neighborhoods with a higher percentage of black residents. Black and white patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest had similar survival in each neighborhood quantile,” the authors write. “Novel education and implementation efforts are needed to improve resuscitation outcomes in these neighborhoods.”

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Starks MA, Schmicker RH, Peterson ED. Association of neighborhood demographics with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest treatment and outcomes [published online August 30, 2017]. JAMA Cardiol. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2017.2671