Study: CPR Less Likely In Low-Income, Black Neighborhoods

People who suffer cardiac arrests in high-income, white neighborhoods are almost twice as likely to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) than people who live in low-income, black neighborhoods, a new study suggests.

“If you drop in a neighborhood that is 80 percent white with a median income over $40,000 a year, you have a 55 percent chance of getting CPR,” study author Dr. Comilla Sasson, an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital, said in a press release. “If you drop in a poor, black neighborhood you have a 35 percent chance,” she said.

The study, published Oct. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at data from 14,225 patients who had cardiac arrests in 29 cities from 2005 to 2009. Researchers then overlaid the findings onto U.S. census data, to show which neighborhood the person suffered the event in. Low income neighborhoods were designated as places where households made at or below $40,000 a year.

The researchers found a “direct relationship” between household income and racial composition of the neighborhood, where the odds of having a bystander perform CPR were 50 percent lower in low-income black neighborhoods than high-income non-black neighborhoods.