Racial impact on surviving cardiac arrest

September 15, 2009 3:00:14 PM PDT
Doctors have found a variety of racial differences in medical care over the years. And now, a new a study shows African-American patients who suffer cardiac arrest in a hospital, meaning they have to be resuscitated, are less likely to survive.

After looking at 10,000 patients over 8 years, Dr. Paul Chan, of St. Luke's Midamerica Heart Institute, found that black patients were 12-percent less likely to survive after cardiac arrest.

He says a lot of that difference is due to the quality of care at hospitals which treat a large number of black patients.

Dr. Chan says he expected to see some differences between hospitals but not that much.

"12-percent is huge, especially when we think of survival differences between black and white patients for other medical conditions. And I can think of no other medical condition where the survival difference is that great."

Experts say poorly performing hospitals tend to have less money and resources but these issues need to be addressed to ensure better outcomes for all races.

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