Bystander CPR less likely for black kids in poorest neighborhoods

July 10, 2019

DALLAS, July 10, 2019 -- African American children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods are significantly less likely than their Caucasian counterparts in disadvantaged or wealthier areas to receive CPR from a bystander, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Prior studies have examined bystander CPR rates in adults, but this is the first time racial and socioeconomic factors have been analyzed exclusively in children in the United States.

An estimated 7,000 children suffer cardiac arrests outside the hospital each year, according to American Heart Association statistics.

Investigators at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) used the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) database to examine factors influencing bystander CPR rates for pediatric non-traumatic out of hospital cardiac arrests from 2013-2017.

A total of 7,086 cardiac arrests were noted in the CARES catchment area between 2013 and 2017 with 61% occurring in infants, 60% in boys, 31% among white kids, 31% among black kids, 10.5% among Hispanics, 3% other and 24% where ethnicity was unknown.

Among the findings: "We believe this is the first study to describe the possible role of racial and sociodemographic factors in provision of bystander CPR to pediatric cardiac arrest in the United States," said lead investigator Maryam Naim, M.D., a pediatric cardiac intensive care physician at CHOP.

In 2017, the researchers published initial data from the study, but at that time the reported associations were unclear, noted lead investigator Maryam Naim, M.D.

"When analyzing the epidemiology of bystander CPR in children in the United States [in 2017] we found lower bystander CPR rates in black and Hispanic children compared to white children but weren't sure if this was due entirely to racial disparities or if it was also associated with neighborhood socioeconomic factors like income, employment, and educational status," said Naim, a pediatric cardiac intensive care physician at CHOP.

These results demonstrate a critical need for focused intervention in low-income, non-white, lower education neighborhoods where targeted CPR training might enhance outcomes in children, Naim said.

"As most bystander CPR is provided by family members, lower response rates are likely due to a lack of CPR training and recognition of cardiac arrests," she said, noting that teaching CPR to parents before a newborn is released from the hospital, or during pediatrician visits would be good opportunities for such training.
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Co-authors are Heather Griffis, Ph.D., Lihai Song, M.S.; Vinay Nadkarni, M.D.; Kimberly Vellano, M.Ph.; Bryan McNally, M.D.; and Rita Burke, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Cardiac Clinical Research Core at CHOP funded the study. The CARES registry was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention until 2012, and today is funded by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, Stryker Corporation and Emory University.

Additional Resources:

Available multimedia is on right column of release link - https://newsroom.heart.org/news/bystander-cpr-less-likely-for-black-kids-in-poorest-neighborhoods?preview=3999a71bc73ac69bdf1c37f2ee4378f0

After July 10, view the manuscript online.

Commentary from AHA Center for Health Metrics and Evalaution available July 10

What is CPR?

AHA News Release: Black infants may have higher cardiac arrest rates

AHA News Release: Fewer cardiac arrest victims get bystander CPR in Latino neighborhoods

Find an American Heart Association CPR class or learn Hands-Only CPR online

Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

About the American Heart Association

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