Women Less Likely To Receive CPR Because Of Their Breasts, Study Finds

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Researchers sat that men are more likely to receive bystander CPR than women.

"By uncovering this disparity, we'll be able to think about new ways to train and educate the public on when, why, and how to administer bystander CPR, in order to help save more lives - of both men and women", said the study's lead author, Audrey Blewer, an assistant director for educational programs at Penn Medicine's Center for Resuscitation Science.

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

Another study leader, Dr. Benjamin Abella, of UPenn, said rescuers are afraid to move a woman's clothes or touch her breasts, though if you are administering CPR properly, you wouldn't. While bystander CPR is still a relatively rare, occurring in only about 37 percent of all cardiac events that happen in public locations, men were 1.23 times more likely to receive it. Men were also found to be almost two times more likely to survive a cardiac event after bystander CPR, and they had 23 percent increased odds of survival without it, compared to women. They found 45 percent of men got assistance in public settings compared to 39 percent of women. "In theory, you're touching in between the breasts", he said.

"This is not a time to be squeamish, because it's a life-and-death situation". According to the American Heart Association, CPR can double or triple survival odds.

The study found that roughly 36 percent of men received in-home CPR compared to 35 percent of women.

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Scientists from the University Pennsylvania analyzed almost 20,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. Researchers had no information on rescuers or why they may have been less likely to help women.

Results from the study may have shed light on an issue within CPR training as well.

The Mayo Clinic's Dr. Roger White, who co-directs the paramedic program for the city of Rochester, Minnesota, said he has long anxious that large breasts may impede proper placement of defibrilator pads if women need a shock to restore normal heart rhythm.

Funded by The Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, the study concluded that the variable of touching a woman's breast may be the reason for the lack of response among potential rescuers. The AP reports that they are less likely to die from a heart attack due to over exertion during sex. Only 34 were during or within an hour of having sex, and 32 of those were in men.

Men were also more likely to survive after getting CPR.

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