Small area variations in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: does the neighborhood matter?

Ann Intern Med. 2010 Jul 6;153(1):19-22. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-1-201007060-00255. Epub 2010 Jun 1.


Background: The incidence and outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest vary widely across cities. It is unknown whether similar differences exist at the neighborhood level.

Objective: To determine the extent to which neighborhoods have persistently high rates of cardiac arrest but low rates of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Design: Multilevel Poisson regression of 1108 cardiac arrests from 161 census tracts as captured by the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES).

Setting: Fulton County, Georgia, between 1 October 2005 to 30 November 2008.

Measurements: Incidence of cardiac arrest, by census tract and year and by rates of bystander CPR.

Results: Adjusted rates of cardiac arrest varied across neighborhoods (interquartile range [IQR], 0.57 to 0.73 per 1000 persons; mean, 0.64 per 1000 persons [SD, 0.11]) but were stable from year to year (intraclass correlation, 0.36 [95% CI, 0.26 to 0.50]; P < 0.001). Adjusted bystander CPR rates also varied by census tract (IQR, 19% to 29%; mean, 25% [SD, 10%]).

Limitation: Analysis was based on data from a single county.

Conclusion: Surveillance data can identify neighborhoods with a persistently high incidence of cardiac arrest and low rates of bystander CPR. These neighborhoods are promising targets for community-based interventions.

Primary funding source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Female
  • Georgia / epidemiology
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Small-Area Analysis