Demographics of cardiac arrest: association with residence in a low-income area

Acad Emerg Med. 1995 Jan;2(1):11-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.1995.tb03071.x.


Objective: To report cardiac arrest demographics and assess whether arrest rate is associated with differences in intracity regional population densities, incomes, or race distributions.

Methods: One-year retrospective review of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in a city with a two-tier emergency medical service (EMS) system. Associations of population density, median income, and race data with age- and gender-adjusted cardiac arrest rates for seven city regions and groupings of high- and low-income census tracts were made.

Results: Median income, but not race or population density, was associated with sex- and age-adjusted intracity regional cardiac arrest rates (p = 0.034). This association of cardiac arrest rate with income status was magnified when the 20 lowest and the 20 highest income census tracts were compared. Cardiac arrest victims in these two income groups did not differ in regard to rate of witnessed arrest, bystander-administered CPR, or previous cardiac disease. Rates of survival to hospital discharge were not significantly different between the two groups.

Conclusion: The association of lower income with cardiac arrest suggests that cardiac health promotion and EMS intervention measures, including CPR instruction, should be targeted to lower-income neighborhoods. These findings may help explain previous studies suggesting a racial or population density association with cardiac arrest rates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Heart Arrest / ethnology
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Population Density
  • Poverty*
  • Racial Groups
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Urban Health