Gap in cardiac arrest survival rates between races closes over 14-year period

A new study, published in JAMA Cardiology, examined whether racial differences in survival after in-hospital cardiac arrest have narrowed over time.

Researchers studied 30,241 black and 81,898 white patients with in-hospital cardiac arrest at 289 hospitals in the Get With the Guidelines–Resuscitation program. The patients were hospitalized in intensive care units or general inpatient units from Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2014.

The study showed risk-adjusted survival improved over time among both sets of patients. The survival rate improved by 10.1 percent among black patients — from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 21.4 percent in 2014. Among white patients, the survival rate improved from 15.8 percent in 2000 to 23.2 percent in 2014 — resulting in a 1.8 percent gap in survival rates among the races in 2014, down from 4.5 percent in 2000. Black patients saw greater survival improvement on an absolute and relative scale.

The reduction in survival differences between black and white patients is attributable to elimination of racial differences in acute resuscitation survival. In 2014, acute resuscitation survival rates were 64.1 percent among black patients and 64 percent among white patients.

Hospitals with a higher proportion of black cardiac arrest patients achieved larger survival gains over time as compared to hospitals with fewer black patients, researchers found.

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