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Survival Rates of Sudden Cardiac Arrest are Higher in Gyms

Madison, Wisconsin - People who have sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at exercise facilities have higher rates of survival than victims who have SCA in other indoor locations.


heartHaving your heart stop suddenly is always a medical emergency, but your odds of survival are much better at exercise facilities compared to other indoor locations. That's according to a new study authored by Dr. Richard L. Page, chair of the department of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.


Done in the Seattle area, the study found that those who had sudden cardiac arrest at fitness centers and "non-traditional" exercise facilities such as bowling alleys and dance studios had a 50 percent rate of survival compared to victims at indoor non-exercise facilities. Survival in those settings was only 36 percent.


Basketball, dancing, working out, treadmill use, tennis, bowling, and swimming were the most common activities performed at the time of SCA.


Page attributes the higher survival rate to factors such as the physical condition of the victim and the prompt responses from bystanders through CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. According to the study's results, witnesses of SCA at exercise facilities responded with CPR 77 percent of the time, and with an AED 16 percent of the time. Witnesses at non-exercise facilities used CPR 55 percent of the time, and AED seven percent.


"The results show life-saving implications for AED placement at both traditional and alternative exercise sites," Page said. "Increasing the presence of AEDs at these facilities will create more opportunities to save lives. If you are at a facility that has an AED, your chance of survival or of saving someone else can be excellent."


Page concludes, "When the heart can be restarted with an AED, a victim has not only a good chance of survival, but of living well afterwards. If you belong to a health club, or participate in activities at non-traditional exercise sites such as bowling alleys or dance studios, make sure there is an AED on site."


Each year 250,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest. Not to be confused with heart attacks, SCA occurs when the heart stops pumping due to a rhythm disturbance and no blood is delivered to the rest of the body; whereas a heart attack occurs when a blockage in a blood vessel interrupts the flow of blood to the heart.


SCA occurs abruptly and without warning and death within minutes if a life-saving shock, as from an AED, is not delivered. SCA can affect people of all ages and health conditions, although people with heart disease or family history of sudden death are at higher risk.


The full study will be presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual scientific sessions in San Francisco, on May 5, where the world's most renowned scientists and physicians present on a wide range of heart rhythm topics.

Date Published: 05/06/2011

News tag(s):  researchrichard l pageheartcardiovascular

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Survival Rates of Sudden Cardiac Arrest are Higher in Gyms

Last updated: 09/02/2011
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