Health and Human Services

Contacts: Kathy Barton
Porfirio Villarreal

Study Identifies String of Houston Neighborhoods at Higher Risk for Cardiac Arrests Also Lack Knowledge of CPR


July 17 - A Rice University/City of Houston study being published in the August edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds greater risk of cardiac arrest and lower cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a corridor of Houston that runs right down the middle of the city.


A new collaboration between the Houston Department of Health and Human Services and the local chapter of the American Heart Association is aimed at addressing the problem through increased availability of CPR training.  So far, more than 4,200 people in the targeted neighborhoods have been trained in hands-only CPR.


“Due to the work of our emergency responders, the local cardiac arrest survival rates are among the best in the nation,” said Mayor Annise Parker.  “However, your chances of survival are even better when a bystander steps in to help with CPR in the minutes before emergency help arrives.  In the longer term, the overall goal must be reduction in the incidence of cardiac arrest.  We have to continue work to improve area air quality and achieve healthier lifestyles.”


The at-risk neighborhoods generally follow a corridor along Highway 288 and Highway 59 North and include Sunnyside, South Park, Riverside, Magnolia, Denver Harbor and 5th Ward.  Acres Homes is a separate area also identified by the study as heavily affected.


“The opportunity to bring quality science expeditiously to the benefit of the community is a noted outcome of this work as well as our on-going collaboration,” said David Persse, EMS director and health authority for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services.


The city and the American Heart Association earlier this year launched the neighborhood outreach program that educates residents of the affected communities on the importance of bystander CPR and how to conduct CPR. The city coordinates and pays for the training. The association trains the residents to perform CPR.