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Tuesday, 01 June 2010 23:08

Heart attack survival not good in some neighborhoods


According to a June 2010 paper, people in poorer, lower educational neighborhoods have a much higher chance of having a heart attack. And, when they do have heart attacks, they are less likely to have someone perform CPR on them.


The paper 'Study reveals strategy for reversing stagnant survival rates' that summarizes the work of these medical researchers appears in the June 2010 issue of the Annuals of Internal Medicine.

It states that the chance of having a heart attack ('cardiac arrest') is two to three times higher in neighborhoods that ''¦ tend to have lower median household incomes, more Black residents, and lower education levels.'

The U.S. researchers, lead by Dr. Comilla Sassion, studied neighborhoods in Fulton County, Georgia, which includes the major metropolitan area of Atlanta.

It is believed that this study is the first of its kind to study the incidence of cardiac arrest as related to location (specifically, neighborhoods).

The researchers analyzed data from emergency medical services and 911 calls that were placed through the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival Rates (CARES, pdf file). The researchers also used U.S. census information to identify neighborhoods.

They discovered that some neighborhoods have much higher incidences of cardiac arrest, along with lower rates of people who knew CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Page two continues.



CPR is an emergency procedure for people in cardiac arrest or, in some cases, respiratory arrest.

The researchers found that some neighborhoods of Fulton County, Georgia, had incidence of cardiac arrest that was two to three times higher than other parts of the country.

And, in such neighborhoods with abnormally high incidences of heart attacks, the number of attempts to resuscitate the victim was among the lowest in the county.

According to the Arizona Reporter article Study reveals strategy for reversing stagnant survival rates, 'These neighborhoods tend to have lower median household incomes, more Black residents, and lower education levels.'

Dr Sassion, an emergency physician within the University of Michigan Health System (Ann Arbor, Michigan), states, 'These findings have national public health indications. They show that it is time to change our thinking on how and where we conduct CPR training if we are ever going to change the dismal rate of survival from cardiac arrest.'

The findings of the researchers indicate that there is an increased need to teach more people CPR.

Sassion added, "Nine out of 10 people die from a cardiac arrest event. This number can and must change." [Arizona Reporter]

Page three concludes.



Please read the Arizona Reporter article in more detail to learn more about Dr. Sassion's plan to improve cardiac survival rates with education and outreach programs in thirty U.S. cities involved in the CARES program.

Some of these thirty cities include: Kansas City, Missouri; Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Honolulu, Hawaii; Houston, Texas; Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; San Diego, California; Sioux Falls, Idaho; San Francisco, California; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Arizona Reporter article provides an example of what Dr. Sassion wants to do to improve survival rates of cardiac arrest victims.

It states, 'In Fulton County, if rates of CPR performed by bystanders were improved to the level achieved by the highest performing parts of the county, an additional 355 people could receive CPR. This could save an additional 15 lives each year in Fulton County alone.'

Learn more about CPR from the Mayo Clinic. It begins: "Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Ideally, CPR involves two elements: chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing."



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