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Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in South Asian and white populations in London: database evaluation of characteristics and outcome
  1. A S Shah1,
  2. R Bhopal2,
  3. S Gadd3,
  4. R Donohoe4
  1. 1
    New Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2
    Section of Public Health, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3
    London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, London UK
  4. 4
    Clinical Audit & Research Unit, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, London UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor R Bhopal, Public Health Sciences Section, Division of Community, Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK; anoopsshah{at}


Objective: To compare out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OOHCA) characteristics in white and South Asian populations within Greater London.

Methods: Data for OOHCAs were extracted from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2007. Primary study variables included age, gender, ethnicity, response times from 999 call to ambulance arrival, initial cardiac rhythm, whether bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation was provided before arrival of the London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust crew, whether the arrest was witnessed (bystander or LAS crew) and hospital outcome, including survival to hospital admission and discharge.

Results: Of 13 013 OOHCAs of presumed cardiac cause, 3161 (24.3%) had ethnicity codes assigned. These comprised 63.1% (n = 1995) white and 5.8% (n = 183) South Asian people, with the remainder from other backgrounds. White patients were on average 5 years older than South Asians (69.5 vs 64.6, p<0.005). Response time (7.48 min vs 7.46 min), bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (34.4% vs 29.7%), initial cardiac rhythm (29.5% vs 30.4%) and survival to admission (22.2% vs 22.5%) and discharge (8.7% vs 8.9%) were comparable between the two ethnic groups. South Asians were slightly more likely to have a witnessed an OOHCA than their white counterparts (OR = 1.1, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.2).

Discussion: The quality of care provided was comparable between white and South Asian populations. The data support the emerging view that South Asians’ high mortality from coronary heart disease reflects higher incidence rather than higher case fatality. South Asians had an OOHCA at a significantly younger age. The study demonstrates the importance of ethnic coding within the emergency services.

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.