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Black children in poor areas less likely to get bystander CPR

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

Instructor and kids performing CPR

African American children who live in poor neighborhoods are significantly less likely to receive bystander CPR during a cardiac arrest than white children, a new study says.

The results show a critical need to teach CPR in low-income, non-white, lower-education neighborhoods, said lead investigator Dr. Maryam Naim in a news release.

"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," said Naim, a pediatric cardiac intensive care physician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Earlier studies have examined bystander CPR rates in adults, but this is the first time researchers analyzed racial and socioeconomic factors in CPR rates for children in the United States. The study was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Investigators at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia examined data from 7,086 children who had non-traumatic cardiac arrests outside a hospital from 2013 to 2017. Overall, 48% of those children received bystander CPR.

Compared to white children, bystander CPR was 41% less likely for black kids, 22% less likely for Hispanics and 6% less likely for other ethnic groups.

Black children living in mostly black neighborhoods with high unemployment, low education and low median income were almost half as likely to receive bystander CPR compared to white children – 32.1% compared to 59.7%.

In 2017, the researchers published initial data from the study and found lower bystander CPR rates in black and Hispanic children compared to white children. But Naim said researchers at the time weren't sure whether that was entirely because of racial disparities or if socioeconomics also played a role.


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