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Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR):Survival Disparities

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR):Survival Disparities

Out of 110,054 witnessed cardiac arrests in Black, Hispanic, and White adults outside of the hospital between January 2013 and December 2019, 39.7% were Black or Hispanic.

These persons were more likely to be: 

  • Younger
  • Women
  • Residents in lower-income neighborhoods

Black or Hispanic persons were less likely to receive bystander CPR at home or in a public location across all income levels. This was regardless of the racial/ethnic composition of the neighborhood. These numbers were compared to White persons who witnessed cardiac arrest during that period and in the same settings (home or public location).

Let me be more specific. Black or Hispanic persons were 26% less likely to receive CPR at home and 37% less likely to receive CPR in a public location than White persons. Undoubtedly, this contributes to lower survival rates in cardiac arrests occurring outside of the hospital for Black and Hispanic persons.


Traditionally, CPR training tends to occur outside of Black and Hispanic communities. Language barriers may hinder dispatcher-assisted CPR. There may be a delay in contacting emergency authorities due to mistrust. Further, bystanders possess their own biases, which cannot be controlled. The overall safety of a neighborhood, stereotypes, and prejudice are a few possibilities that may influence a bystander’s intervention.

So, let’s talk about potential solutions.

Racial and linguistic representation in emergency services would be favorable to remove barriers and build trust. Public health efforts to provide affordable CPR training in churches and community centers are needed. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association are reputable organizations that provide information on how to receive CPR training. There is undoubtedly room for dismantling personal biases and improving morale in our communities. Faith-based organizations can play a role here. And let’s not downplay the significance of prevention when possible!

#CPR #survivaldisparities #hearthealth #prevention

Garcia, R. A., Spertus, J. A., Girotra, S., Nallamothu, B. K., Kennedy, K. F., McNally, B. F., Breathett, K., Del Rios, M., Sasson, C., & Chan, P. S. (2022). Racial and ethnic differences in bystander CPR for witnessed cardiac arrest. New England Journal of Medicine387(17), 1569-1578.

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