Public Release: 

Penn study finds men are more likely to receive CPR in public than women

Researchers identify gender disparity in bystander CPR, with 45 percent of male victims receiving it as compared to 39 percent of females

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

PHILADELPHIA--When it comes to your likelihood of receiving bystander CPR if you experience a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in public, it turns out your gender may play a lifesaving role. According to a new study from researchers in the Center for Resuscitation Science at Penn Medicine, which is being presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2017, men are more likely to receive bystander CPR in public than women.

"By uncovering this disparity, we'll be able to think about new ways to train and educate the public on when, why, and how to administer bystander CPR, in order to help save more lives - of both men and women," said lead author, Audrey Blewer, MPH, assistant director for Educational Programs at the Center for Resuscitation Science at Penn Medicine.

Researchers evaluated 19,331 cardiac events using data from the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium, a network of regional clinical centers in the United States and Canada which study out-of-hospital treatments of cardiac arrest and trauma, and found that 45 percent of men received bystander CPR in public compared to 39 percent of women. While bystander CPR is still a relatively rare, occurring in only about 37 percent of all cardiac events that happen in public locations, men were 1.23 times more likely to receive it. Men were also found to be nearly two times more likely to survive a cardiac event after bystander CPR, and they had 23 percent increased odds of survival without it, compared to women.

"The key take away from these data is that we need to find better and more effective ways to educate the general public on the importance of providing bystander CPR, and the importance of being comfortable delivering it regardless of the factors like the gender, age, or even the weight of the person in need," said senior author Benjamin Abella, MD, MPhil, director of Penn's Center for Resuscitation Science and a professor of Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "This study and other investigations from our team are only just beginning to peel back the layers on CPR rates and training disparities, cardiac arrest survival, and the public's understanding of the importance of rapid intervention during a cardiac emergency."

In addition to bystander CPR rates in public locations, the team also looked at possible disparities of in-home CPR. Interestingly, there was no significant difference based on gender--35 percent of women and 36 percent of men received CPR in the home. While more research would be needed, this finding could point to the idea that people may be less comfortable delivering CPR to a woman they do not know, rather than a man because of the physical barriers. "Regardless of someone's gender or how their body is shaped, delivering bystander CPR during cardiac arrest is absolutely critical, as it has been proven to double and even triple a victim's chance of survival," said Blewer.

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This study was funded by an American Heart Association Mentored Clinical Research Project Award. Shaun K McGovern, Clinical Research Coordinator in the Center for Resuscitation Science, is an additional Penn author on this study.

Editor's Note: This study will be presented at 3:15 p.m. PT, on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 in room 151 (ACC North).

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2016, Penn Medicine provided $393 million to benefit our community.

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