The chances of getting a life-saving CPR depend on the location where you get a cardiac arrest, a new study says.
Researchers from the University of Colorado found that people who had a sudden cardiac arrest in a rich and predominantly white neighborhood were more likely to receive a CPR than in a poor neighborhood.
"Location, location, location is crucial in real estate, and I would say the same for cardiac arrest," Dr. Comilla Sasson, an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and study co-author told HealthDay.
African Americans and Latinos were least likely to receive a CPR by a bystander regardless of the location; about 30 percent of them never getting a CPR no matter where they get a cardiac arrest, the study found, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
"Working as an emergency room doctor for more than 10 years now, I realized that time and again I'd see patients in black and lower-income neighborhoods not have anyone start CPR. It's completely dependent on where you have a heart episode," Dr. Sasson added, according to HealthDay.
The data for the study, obtained from the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival, covered 22 million people in 29 cities and counties.
Researchers studied 14,225 cases of sudden cardiac arrest between October 2005 and December 2009. They collected data on where the person was during the cardiac arrest. They categorized places based on the income levels of the residents; rich neighborhoods had people earning of $40,000 or more and poor neighborhoods $40,000 or more. Data was also collected on whether the neighborhood had predominantly white, black or mixed population.
Data analysis showed that people who had a cardiac arrest in low-income neighborhoods with predominantly black neighborhoods were 51 percent less likely to get a CPR compared to white and high income neighborhoods.
The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, doesn't explain why there is a difference in people getting CPR. Dr. Gordon Ewy, director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center in Tucson, who wasn't part of the study, says it might have to do with the cost. "If you are struggling to make ends meet, you don't have time to spend $45 and several hours 'getting certified,'" said Ewy to Los Angeles Times.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 300,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States. CDC recommends that people call emergency services by dialing 9-1-1, administering CPR, using an automated external defibrillator (AED)- a portable device that can be found in public areas like shopping malls, golf courses, businesses, airports, airplanes, casinos, sports venues, and schools.
Experts say that forceful chest compression at about 100 times a minute can save a person's life. As a recent article in The New York Times says, singing "Stayin' Alive" that has a tempo of 103 a minute, while performing CPR can be a useful aid.