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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported February 28, 2013

A Call for Targeted CPR Training

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Administering CPR to someone in cardiac arrest can possibly save their life until an ambulance comes, but many people are either untrained or uncomfortable performing CPR on a stranger. Furthermore, bystander CPR rates are especially low in high-risk neighborhoods, leading the American Heart Association to issue a scientific statement saying that CPR training should be more targeted at high-risk neighborhoods, which will hopefully raise the dismal survival rates.

"We have always had a one size fits all approach, blanketing a whole area with CPR training, and we assume that will get to everyone," statement author Comilla Sasson, MD, MS, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus was quoted as saying.

Bystanders administer CPR about 40% of the time throughout the entire nation, but drastically different survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrest can be seen between certain areas. In fact, Detroit has only a 0.2% survival rate compared to Seattle’s 16% survival rate. It is not known exactly why bystander CPR is less likely to occur in low-income areas but race also seems to play a role. African American and Hispanic neighborhoods have lower rates of survival for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest compared to predominantly White areas.

It is hoped that by targeting CPR training towards these low-income neighborhoods, more bystanders will feel comfortable stepping in to help others in these emergency situations.
However, training isn’t the only factor responsible for low numbers of bystander CPR in these areas; fear of being sued or having to prove immigration status also keeps many people from acting in these situations.

"Most people don't know what a Good Samaritan law is," Dr. Sasson said.

Good Samaritan laws legally protect individuals who offer reasonable assistance to others that are injured, in danger, or otherwise incapacitated.

Another suggestion made in the statement from the American Heart Association is a standardized dispatcher-assisted telephone program for 9-1-1 operators that give CPR instructions to willing bystanders.

SOURCE: Circulation, February 2013

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