A new University of British Columbia study finds the chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Metro Vancouver depends on where the incident takes place.

Lead researcher Dr. David Barbic, UBC professor and emergency department physician at St. Paul's Hospital, said the chances of surviving an incident like this is low — about 15 per cent — but increases if a patient receives CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Barbic said the study found neighbourhoods with a larger proportion of ethnic Chinese residents — such as Richmond and Chinatown — tended had to have a higher percentage of bystanders who performed CPR.

"From what we understand, the Chinese community is very receptive to health education and health interventions, and there has been strong interest in the Chinese community in receiving CPR education ... but we don't know whether in those areas it's predominantly Chinese people giving CPR."

UBC Cardiac arrest map

The darker colours indicate a higher rate of people who survive out-of-hospital cardiac arrest without major brain damage. (UBC)

The map was created by using data from 1,600 cardiac arrests that occurred outside hospitals between 2007 and 2011.

Barbic also said he was surprised poorer neighbourhoods like the Downtown Eastside fared better than wealthier ones, which he said contradicts earlier studies in U.S. cities.

"Part of it is probably related to there are more commercial and public areas in those neighbourhoods," he said, so there would be more people in denser neighbourhoods to recognize someone in trouble and provide assistance.

The research is the first of its kind in Canada, and the study was published in October in the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine.

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled UBC study maps cardiac arrest across metro Vancouver