Odds of heart attack depend on where you live

June 1st, 2010 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 1 (IANS) The odds of surviving cardiac arrest may depend on which part of town you live and whether anyone in the vicinity attempts to give you cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The study found that certain neighbourhoods have an incidence of cardiac arrest two to three times higher than other parts of the county and fewer bystanders who attempt to perform CPR.

Surprisingly, these findings remained across time meaning that, year after year, residents of these neighbourhoods were at the highest risk for a cardiac arrest event, and had the lowest rates of bystander CPR.

These neighbourhoods tend to have lower median household incomes, more Black residents, and lower education levels.

“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,” said Comilla Sasson, who led the study at the University of Michigan (UM).

“Nine out of 10 people die from a cardiac arrest event. This number can and must change,” added Sasson.

CPR training often targets young, healthy volunteers who are least likely to encounter an individual in cardiac arrest.

However, using Sasson’s method, a public health surveillance registry based on that of the Centres of Disease Control (CDC) can be used to design targeted interventions in the neighbourhoods that need CPR training the most.

Boosting bystander CPR rates in the US from the current average of 27 percent to 56 percent could save an additional 1,500 lives per year.

Each year, in the US, nearly 300,000 patients experience cardiac arrest - the sudden, abrupt loss of heart function - while outside of the hospital, said an UM release.

Heart disease is the most common cause of cardiac arrest, but other factors such as drowning, choking, electrocution and trauma can cause cardiac arrest.

These findings were published in the June issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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