Study: Cardiac survival rate higher for men than women
Researchers found that despite “tremendous improvement” in CPR and defibrillation, they “did not see an improvement in survival for women”
By EMS1 Staff
DURHAM, N.C. — A recent study suggests that while improvements have been made in the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest care, survival rates are higher for men than they are for women.
Medical Xpress reported that a study conducted by researchers at Duke University aimed at measuring how a state campaign to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest care impacted patients found that while “tremendous improvement” in CPR and defibrillation was made, survival rates for women have not increased.
"We did not see improvement in survival for women, which is disappointing," Duke Clinical Research Institute Researcher Dr. Carolina Malta Hansen said. "This improvement only seems to be substantial for a small group of patients – usually younger and male patients – who have a cardiac arrest in a public place.”
Hansen said that women are more likely to have cardiomyopathy and non-shockable rhythms that cannot be treated with defibrillation, which might help explain why their survival rates are worse. She added that women who suffer cardiac arrest are often older than men and live at home alone.
"Those are all characteristics that we know are associated with poorer survival," she said.
Dr. Benjamin Abella, director of the Center for Resuscitation at the University of Pennsylvania, said the study “raises more questions than it answers,” and highlights the need for more research on bystander CPR improvements.
“The most important message is that CPR works,” Abella added. “The more people who deliver CPR, the more survivors you have who can leave the hospital and return to their families. That's the good news."
Abella said bystanders might also hesitate from using an AED or performing CPR on a woman because they would have to remove the woman’s clothing.
"We need to have a better understanding of people's psychology when they're faced with emergency situations, so we can address it through education or training," he said. "We need to go deeper and understand the barriers: Is it fear of being sued? Is there some other emotional barrier?"
Abella added that training with female manikins or virtual reality could help improve comfortability.
"The advantage of virtual reality is you can make it very lifelike and get a truer sense of somebody's response,” he said.