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Hands-Only CPR Training Could Save More Latino Lives


Thursday, June 3, 2021   

DURHAM, N.C. - This week is National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Week, and in North Carolina community groups are working to boost hands-only CPR training in Latino communities, where residents are at higher risk for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Research shows people living in Latino communities are 39% less likely to have bystander CPR performed on them during an emergency, and 44% less likely to survive.

Anne Miller, regional executive director for the Triangle and Eastern North Carolina American Heart Association, said the disparity is costing lives in Black and Brown communities.

"Even in children, too, compared to white children," said Miller. "Bystander CPR was 41% less likely for Black kids, and 22% less likely for Hispanics."

Nationwide, nearly 400,000 people experience cardiac arrest each year, and the majority of heart attacks happen at home. Less than 10% of individuals survive the trip to the hospital.

The American Heart Association is working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, along with El Centro, to spread the word about hands-only CPR training. Miller said the pandemic hasn't stopped community health workers from reaching residents.

"The health promotores workers were onboarded during the pandemic over Zoom, but have been in-person training," said Miller, "giving out masks or providing needed blood-pressure information and CPR to those who are interested in learning and taking that information back home."

Miller says many people are intimidated by the technique, but she explains the research shows chest compressions alone can circulate oxygen and be as effective as rescue-breath CPR for the first few minutes during cardiac arrest.

"And it's easier than you think," said Miller. "You call 911, push hard and fast in the center of the chest, and you never know when you might need this skill. And the best thing about it is you can easily teach others around you."

The American Heart Association estimates that 100- to 200-thousand lives could be saved each year if CPR were performed early-on during an emergency.

Disclosure: American Heart Association of North Carolina contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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