Asian Adults Less Likely to Survive Cardiac Arrest, Even With Bystander CPR

By Tamara Thomas - September 11, 2023

Asian adults in the US are less likely to survive a cardiac arrest outside a hospital than their White counterparts, even though they are just as likely to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from a bystander, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Previous studies have reported disparities in bystander CPR and survival for Black and Hispanic individuals with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). However, little is known about the survival rate and rates of bystander CPR in Asian individuals compared to White individuals.

For this study, Paul Chan and colleagues identified 278,989 cases of OHCA in Asian and White individuals from 2013-2021. About 5% (14,835) of OHCA cases occurred in Asian individuals. The researchers observed that Asian adults were slightly older, more likely to be female, and less likely to have a drug overdose as the cause of cardiac arrest.

The study revealed that Asian and White adults in the US who had a cardiac arrest at home or in public had approximately a 42% chance of receiving potentially lifesaving CPR from a bystander.

“We were surprised that rates of bystander CPR in Asian adults were the same as white adults, as we have previously found that Black and Hispanic persons with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have much lower rates of bystander CPR than white persons,” Dr. Chan said in a news release.

Surprisingly, the researchers also found that the survival rate for Asian adults was lower than their White counterparts. Specifically, Asian adults were about 8% less likely to survive hospital discharge and 15% less likely to survive without neurological problems than their White peers.

“Receiving bystander CPR is usually a very strong predictor of survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Therefore, it is not entirely clear what may be driving the lower survival rate,” Dr. Chan concluded.

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