News / Vancouver

People in predominantly Chinese neighbourhoods most likely to perform CPR: UBC study

Survival rates for cardiac arrest were highest in Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods with high ethnic Chinese populations

For tips on how to help someone in cardiac arrest, scroll to bottom of story.

People usually do not survive cardiac arrest if it happens outside of a hospital but Vancouver-area residents who live in predominantly ethnic Chinese neighbourhoods have a better chance than most, according to a new UBC study.

The rate of survival for cardiac arrest outside of hospitals has improved dramatically in the past two decades – it is now 15 per cent – and much of it thanks to increased rates of bystander CPR, said lead author Dr. David Barbic.

His study found that bystanders in predominantly Chinese neighbourhoods were more likely to perform CPR.

In fact, the highest rates of public bystander CPR were observed in neighbourhoods where more than 60 per cent of residents self-reported as ethnically Chinese.

“The Chinese community may be more receptive to health education or there may be increased receptiveness to assisting in the Chinese community,” said Barbic, clinical assistant professor in the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine.

The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, was done using 2007 to 2011 Vancouver Coastal Health and Statistics Canada data for Metro Vancouver.

The finding may be a steppingstone in the effort to encourage more people in other communities to help someone in cardiac arrest, said co-author Jim Christenson, head of UBC’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

“I think we have to dig into the reasons why certain communities […] do so well as far as bystander CPR,” he said.  

“Perhaps we can translate some of that information to other kinds of communities.”

People who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital have a 15 per cent chance of surviving, according to a UBC study.


People who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital have a 15 per cent chance of surviving, according to a UBC study.

People can also improve their chances of survival by living close to a hospital or a densely populated area, said Barbic.

“You’re more likely to encounter an off-service firefighter, paramedic, physician,” he explained.

But all members of the public are capable of helping someone in cardiac arrest, said Christenson, who has worked on improving CPR education for years. Currently, people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital have, on average, a 40 per cent chance of receiving help by someone passing by, he said.

“I want to know why it is only 40 per cent. We don’t even know what the limit is. Can we get it to 80 per cent?”

How to help someone in cardiac arrest

Source: Jim Christenson, UBC Department of Emergency Medicine

·      Call 911 to ensure ambulance arrives as quickly as possible

·      Perform chest compressions, about 100/minute

·      Mouth-to-mouth is usually not required

·      Ask 911 dispatcher for help on how to perform CPR

More on