CHOP Researchers Find Racial, Neighborhood Disparities in Pediatric Cardiac Arrest

Published on

In an abstract presented at AHA, researchers found Black children are more than four times as likely to experience cardiac arrest and have significantly worse survival outcomes

Proper hand placement for CPR A child’s race and neighborhood could influence not only the likelihood of having a cardiac arrest but also survival and recovery, according to researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). In an abstract presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia, the researchers found that Black children were more than four times as likely to experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest as white or Hispanic children and were 26% less likely to survive hospital discharge.

The researchers also found that the incidence of cardiac arrest was higher in neighborhoods of lower socioeconomic status, whereas survival was higher in neighborhoods of higher socioeconomic status.

To study the impact of race and neighborhood on pediatric cardiac arrest, the researchers used the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) database to analyze nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest among children under the age of 18 between 2015 and 2019. To gauge a neighborhood’s socioeconomic status (SES), they used a SES risk score that incorporated race, ethnicity, household income, high school graduation rates, and unemployment rates.

Of 6,945 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, 33% occurred in Black children, 11% in Hispanic children, and 31% in White children. They also found that 41% of cases occurred in high-risk neighborhoods and that Black children had lower odds not only of survival but also of neurologically favorable survival compared to White children.

“While much more work is needed to determine why we see these disparities, previous studies have shown that Black children receive less CPR after cardiac arrest. CPR is an important determinant in cardiac arrest survival,” said Cody Gathers, MD, lead investigator and Critical Care fellow at CHOP. “The persistence of these disparities demonstrates a need for increased resources for these programs in higher-risk communities.”

Learn more in this press release from the American Heart Association.

Contact: Natalie Solimeo, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-6246 or

Next Steps
Outpatient Appointments
Second Opinions, Referrals and Information About Our Services
Mom holding infant cardiac patient

Why Choose Us

Our specialists are leading the way in the diagnosis, treatment, and research of congenital and acquired heart conditions.

Cardiac Patient and Mom

Stay in Touch

Subscribe to receive updates on research and treatment, patient stories, profiles of clinicians, news about special events and much more!