(HealthDay News) – Bystanders are more likely to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on patients who have a cardiac arrest in high-income white neighborhoods, according to a study published in the Oct 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Comilla Sasson, MD, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues analyzed surveillance data from 14,225 patients with cardiac arrest from Oct 1, 2005–Dec 31, 2009, submitted from 29 U.S. sites to the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival. Census-tract data was used to determine the neighborhood in which each cardiac arrest occurred. Neighborhoods were classified as high- or low-income based on median household income and as white or black if >80% of the census tract was predominantly of one race.

The researchers found that bystander-initiated CPR was provided to 28.6% of those with cardiac arrests. Those who had cardiac arrest in low-income black neighborhoods were significantly less likely to receive bystander-initiated CPR (odds ratio [OR], 0.49), compared with patients who had a cardiac arrest in high-income white neighborhoods. Similar results were seen in low-income white (OR, 0.65), low-income integrated (OR, 0.62), and high-income black (OR, 0.77) neighborhoods. There was a similar likelihood of bystander-initiated CPR in high-income integrated neighborhoods as in high-income white neighborhoods.

“In conclusion, we found that the racial and socioeconomic composition of neighborhoods has important effects on the likelihood of bystander-initiated CPR for a person with an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest,” the authors write. “Public health efforts that target CPR training to low-income black neighborhoods may help reduce these disparities.”

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