Black patients are less likely to survive after cardiac arrest than whites, according to research from the St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, reported by HealthDay.

Generally, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are slim. But blacks have a 25 percent rate of survival compared with 37 percent for whites, said lead researcher, Paul S. Chan, MD. In addition, blacks have lower rates of successful resuscitation and survival after resuscitation.

Why these differences? “The hospital effect is huge and substantial and is a contributor to the difference between black and white survival,” Chan said.
“If we can improve survival in those lower-performing hospitals at which black patients are more likely to be having cardiac arrest,” Chan suggests, “we can eventually narrow the difference between black and white survival.”

Kim A. Williams, MD, director of nuclear cardiology, at the University of Chicago, wasn’t surprised hospital facilities caused the disparity in the study.

Williams suggested that access to better care and medication as well as education, prevention and screening are key to decreasing cardiac arrest disparities between blacks and whites.

Get the 411 on sudden cardiac arrest here.