Women Less Likely to Receive CPR from Bystanders, Study Shows
Women are less likely than men to receive bystander CPR in public and far more likely to die afterward, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed 19,331 cardiac events that occurred between 2011 and 2015 and released their preliminary results Saturday at American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions.
“CPR involves pushing on the chest so that could make people less certain whether they can or should do CPR in public on women,” said Audrey Blewer, M.P.H., the study’s lead author and assistant director for educational programs at the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
The data for the study was compiled by the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium, a network of regional clinical centers in the United States and Canada that study out-of-hospital treatments of cardiac arrest and trauma.
The preliminary results they released showed 45 percent of men received bystander CPR in public settings compared to just 39 percent of women. By the time men were discharged from the hospital, their odds of survival were 23 percent greater compared to women.
The disparity narrowed to 35 percent of women and 36 percent of men receiving CPR when the emergencies occurred at home. There was no significant statistical difference.
“Ultimately this highlights a key knowledge gap in resuscitation science, that we need to characterize the bystander to better understand the barriers and biases to CPR delivery. From there this can help inform public messaging and public CPR training,” said Blewer.
Disparities for men and women exist throughout healthcare, experts say.
“Studies have shown that gender disparities exist in cardiovascular disease, as well as response to time-sensitive conditions. To our knowledge, no study has examined whether gender variation exists with receipt of layperson bystander CPR,” Blewer said.
According to a study released last year, women are less likely to receive several different potentially life-saving procedures after cardiac arrest. That research showed women were less likely to receive coronary angiography, which can be used to look for blocked arteries; angioplasty, which is the repair or unblocking of an artery; or to have their body temperature lowered to increase the chance of survival reduce the risk of brain damage.
Some of the problems begin early in the process. While heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, only one-third of all heart research subjects are women even though genders exhibit different symptoms and reactions to medications, treatments and medical devices.
“As long as women are underrepresented in clinical trials, we will continue to lack data to make accurate clinical decisions on 51 percent of the world’s population,” said authors in a specialized women’s issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes in 2016 that drew attention to the issue.