The American Heart Association (AHA) has launched a video campaign that spotlights the crucial role of bystander CPR among women, after new research found women were less likely to give Hands-Only CPR in an emergency.
The AHA study found 46 percent of women reported they would likely give Hands-Only CPR in an emergency, compared to 54 percent of men. The gap widens further among the younger generation, with 49 percent of women aged 18 to 34 likely to give Hands-Only CPR in an emergency, with 63 percent of men age 18 to 34 reporting the same.
The younger generation (18-34) is also more likely to perform CPR than the people aged 35 and older, 55 percent compared to 47 percent.
Alarmingly, recent research from the University of Pennsylvania also found women were less likely to receive bystander CPR in public. Research from the University of Colorado School of Medicine attributed this to concerns about inappropriate contact or causing injury.
The AHA say over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital each year in the U.S., and that CPR, especially if performed immediately, can triple a person’s chances of survival.
AHA assistant director for educational programs Audrey Blewer said every second counted during cardiac arrest, “but barriers such as misconceptions can stand in the way that may contribute to a delay in CPR or CPR not being performed at all.”
“Through public health education efforts such as this new video, I think the public will be emotionally moved to understand that cardiac arrest can strike at any time to someone you know, love or perhaps even a stranger and that bystander CPR needs to begin immediately. This is why it’s imperative we educate the public that there is no difference in performing CPR on a man or woman.”
Bystander CPR rates also are low in communities of colour. Neighbourhoods whose residents are mainly African-American or Hispanic are two to three times more likely to have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. Yet, African-Americans and Hispanics are 30 to 50 percent less likely to have bystander CPR performed on them.
Hands-Only CPR has two steps performed in this order: first is to call relevant emergency services, and second is to push hard and fast in the centre of the chest to the beat of a familiar song that has 100 to 120 beats per minute.
To learn more about Hands-Only CPR and watch training videos, visit here.