Black, Hispanic Americans Getting Savvier About CPR

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Key Takeaways

  • Black and Hispanic Americans have become more confident they can perform lifesaving CPR

  • The percentages of Black and Hispanic people who are ready to perform CPR increased between 2021 and 2024

  • The American Heart Association promotes a simple-yet-effective form called Hands-Only CPR

WEDNESDAY, April 24, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Black and Hispanic Americans are gaining a better understanding of CPR, with a growing number expressing confidence they could use it to save a life, a new survey finds.

About 44% of Black Americans now feel confident performing conventional CPR, up from 30% just three years ago, the American Heart Association (AHA) survey has found.

Hispanic Americans also reported an increase in confidence, with 44% now ready to perform CPR, up from 37% in 2021.

Immediate CPR and defibrillation are key to improving survival after cardiac arrest, the AHA said.

“We know Black and Hispanic people are less likely to receive help during a cardiac emergency due to lower rates of both bystander CPR and bystander (defibrillator) use in these neighborhoods,” said American Heart Association volunteer expert Dr. Anezi Uzendu, an interventional cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern.

“The American Heart Association’s efforts to provide people from all backgrounds and walks of life with the information to properly perform CPR is already increasing confidence in performing CPR amongst Black and Hispanic neighborhoods,” added Uzendu, himself a survivor of cardiac arrest. “However, we still have a lot of work to do to equip communities and save more lives.”

A person experiencing cardiac arrest outside of a hospital has a 10% chance of survival, the AHA said. Less than half the time there is a bystander willing and able to provide CPR while waiting for medics to arrive.

That statistic drops even more when the person is Black or Hispanic, because bystanders are less likely to jump in and offer emergency aid, the AHA said.

CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival, the AHA says.

The survey, conducted online in December 2023 among 1,268 people ages 18 to 80 across the U.S., also found that:

  • Overall, less than half those surveyed are confident they can properly perform CPR in an emergency.

  • Nearly one in three worry they’ll perform CPR incorrectly.

  • About one in five are hesitant to perform CPR for fear of unintentionally hurting the victim.

  • One in four have never heard of Good Samaritan Laws, which protect bystanders who provide aid in an emergency.

The AHA is trying to improve these numbers by promoting Hands-Only CPR, a simplified form of CPR that is nonetheless effective in improving a cardiac arrest victim’s odds of survival.

Hands-Only CPR has two simple steps -- first call 911, then start pressing hard and fast in the center of the chest.

More information

The American Red Cross has more about CPR.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 22, 2024

What This Means For You

Everyone should learn how to perform CPR and be ready to act in the case someone collapses in their presence.

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