Health inequities in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2022 Jun 1;28(3):229-236. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000947.


Purpose of review: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a time-critical emergency in which a rapid response following the chain of survival is crucial to save life. Disparities in care can occur at each link in this pathway and hence produce health inequities. This review summarises the health inequities that exist for OHCA patients and suggests how they may be addressed.

Recent findings: There is international evidence that the incidence of OHCA is increased with increasing deprivation and in ethnic minorities. These groups have lower rates of bystander CPR and bystander-initiated defibrillation, which may be due to barriers in accessing cardiopulmonary resuscitation training, provision of public access defibrillators, and language barriers with emergency call handlers. There are also disparities in the ambulance response and in-hospital care following resuscitation. These disadvantaged communities have poorer survival following OHCA.

Summary: OHCA disproportionately affects deprived communities and ethnic minorities. These groups experience disparities in care throughout the chain of survival and this appears to translate into poorer outcomes. Addressing these inequities will require coordinated action that engages with disadvantaged communities.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Defibrillators
  • Health Inequities
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / epidemiology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / therapy