Women are less likely than men to get CPR from a stranger, study shows

Nov. 28, 2017

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A recent study found a gender gap in a surprising place: In instances of sudden cardiac arrest, bystanders were less likely to give a woman CPR than a man.

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The study examined nearly 20,000 instances of sudden cardiac arrest from between 2011 and 2015.

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The researchers found that when someone needed CPR in public, 45% of men received CPR from a bystander, compared to just 39% of women.

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Men were also 23% more likely than women to survive the events, the study found.

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Audrey Blewer, the study’s lead author, said one reason for the disparity might be in the training materials used to teach CPR.

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The practice dummies are usually male torsos, Blewer said at a American Heart Association conference in November, according to the Associated Press.

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Blewer also pointed to bystanders’ reluctance to apply the force necessary for CPR to women’s bodies.

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It can be kind of daunting thinking about pushing hard and fast on the center of a woman’s chest.

— Audrey Blewer

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Speaking at the same event, Dr. Benjamin Abella, who also led the study, said bystanders may feel uncomfortable touching a woman’s breasts during an emergency.

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But, Abella said, that actually isn’t necessary for CPR, which is performed on the sternum, or the middle of the chest.

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And besides, Abella said, “This is not a time to be squeamish because it’s a life-and-death situation.”

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