Differences in Treatment for Those Who Suffer Cardiac Arrest by Racial Makeup of Neighborhood

A new study, led by Monique Anderson Starks, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, found that people who live in predominantly White neighborhoods are much more likely than people who live in predominantly Black neighborhoods to be treated with CPR or a defibrillator after suffering cardiac arrest.

Researchers examined more than 22,000 cases of cardiac arrest in non-hospital settings over a four-year period. Nearly 40 percent of the people in predominantly White neighborhoods received CPR compared to 18 percent in predominantly Black neighborhoods. Some 4.5 percent of those who had cardiac arrest in predominantly White neighborhoods were treated with an automated external defibrillator, five times the percentage of people in predominantly Black neighborhoods.

Dr. Anderson Starks stated that “we have known that there are differences in the rates of survival from cardiac arrest between Blacks and Whites, but it was surprising to see how the demographics of a neighborhood affected outcomes of residents who experience cardiac arrest. This is absolutely a call to action to improve and expand CPR training and defibrillator access.”

The study, “Association of Neighborhood Demographics With Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Treatment and Outcomes: Where You Live May Matter,” was published on the website of JAMA Cardiology. It may be accessed here.

Dr. Anderson Starks is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed her residency at Vanderbilt University. Below is a video about Dr. Anderson Starks.

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