Women are less likely than men to be given CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if they fall unconscious and their heart stops beating in a public place, according to a new study.
“We don’t know why this is the case,” says study co-author and emergency medicine physician Dr Alexis Cournoyer from Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal in Canada.
“It could be that people are worried about hurting or touching women, or that they think a woman is less likely to be having a cardiac arrest.”
Study co-author and nurse researcher Dr Sylvie Cossette from the Montreal Heart Institute’s Research Centre in Canada says: “We carried out this study to try to uncover factors that might discourage people from delivering CPR, including any factors that might deter people from giving CPR to a woman.
“We would like to study this issue in greater detail to understand what lies behind the difference.
“This could help us make sure that anyone who needs CPR gets it, regardless of gender, age or location.”
She had presented the study on Sept 17 (2023) at the 2023 European Emergency Medicine Congress held in Barcelona, Spain.
The researchers had analysed data on more than 39,000 cardiac arrests that happened outside of a hospital setting in Canada and the United States between 2005 and 2015.
Almost a quarter (23%) occurred in public locations.
The patients had an average age of 67 and 29% of the cases were in women.
Only around half of patients (54%) received CPR from a bystander.
The researchers found that in public locations, women were 28% less likely to receive CPR compared to men.
In homes and other private places, gender did not appear to be linked to whether or not a person received CPR.
However, it was found that older people were less likely to receive CPR in private locations.
With every 10-year increase in age, men were around 9% less likely to be given CPR during a cardiac arrest. Women were 3% less likely.
Dr Cournoyer notes: “In an emergency when someone is unconscious and not breathing properly, in addition to calling an ambulance, bystanders should give CPR.
“This will give the patient a much better chance of survival and recovery.” – PA Media/dpa