The findings are important because immediate CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, by a bystander is associated with a doubling of survival in cases of cardiac arrest.
Researchers used a database of 19,331 cardiac arrests in the United States and Canada for their analysis. They excluded any arrests that were witnessed by emergency personnel or that occurred in health care facilities.
In the home, there was no difference between the sexes — about a third of both women and men got CPR. But in public, 45 percent of men got assistance, whereas only 39 percent of women did. After adjusting for the location, time of day, age, race and other factors, they found that this gave men a 29 percent increased chance of survival.
“A male chest is different from a female chest, and there may be barriers to CPR delivery in public,” said the lead author, Audrey L. Blewer, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “We need to better understand what these barriers are in order to inform training and public messaging about CPR.”
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