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Report: Cardiac Arrest Response Varies By Race, Neighborhood

File photo of a team during a CPR training.
Greg Clarke
Flickr/Creative Commons,
File photo of a team during a CPR training.

Researchers at Duke University say there are discrepancies between black and white neighborhoods in responses to cardiac arrest.A new study finds that people who live in predominantly black communities are less likely to get CPR or defibrillation from a bystander. And that means African-Americans have a worse survival rate when it comes to cardiac arrest.  

But Doctor Monique Starks says the study did show that bystanders were willing to help, regardless of race.

“Somewhat reassuringly, if you look at black and white individuals who had cardiac arrest in predominantly black neighborhoods, they had the same survival, so there's no bias in treatment patterns in predominantly black neighborhoods or predominantly white neighborhoods.”

The study suggests there needs to be more access to defibrillators and affordable CPR training in black neighborhoods, according to Stark.

The report says nearly 50 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest in white neighborhoods are able to get CPR or defibrillation from a bystander. Starks said that rate drops to less than 20 percent in black neighborhoods, but EMS response times are actually better in black neighborhoods.

“And that was really reassuring,” she said. “The only finding that warrants further study is the time to defibrillation and the time spent on resuscitation were lacking compared to white communities.”

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