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Survival Rate From Sudden Cardiac Arrest Higher at Fitness Facilities

Update Date: Aug 07, 2013 03:29 PM EDT

One of the most fatal aspects of suffering from a cardiac arrest is the capricious nature of this type of attack. Since cardiac arrest occurs randomly and quite suddenly, one's ability to seek help can be greatly hindered. According to a new study, researchers found that people who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest have a greater survival rate if the event occurred within fitness facilities.

Based from previous studies and statistics, even though people who exercise frequently have an overall reduced risk of suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest, the risk for this condition increases immediately post-workout. For people who exercise but have underlying health issues that could be tied to lifestyle habits or genetics, experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest at the fitness center is possible. Fortunately for these people, a new study found that fitness facilities are well equipped with automated external defibrillator (AED) and other factors that increase one's survival rates.

For this study, researchers looked at 849 cases of sudden cardiac arrest that occurred between 1996 and 2008. These events took place in public indoor locations in Seattle and King County, WA. The researchers separated the cases based on the type of public location, which included traditional exercise facilities, alternative exercise facilities, which would include dance studios or hotel gyms, or non-exercise facilities. The researchers noted that 52 cases occurred at traditional exercise location, 84 at non-traditional exercise locations and 713 at non-exercise facilities. Based from limited information, the researchers noted that 77 percent of the cases occurred during exercise, 18 percent occurred post-workout and four percent happened before a workout.

The researchers calculated that 20.5 percent of the cases, which was the most common, happened due to basketball. The activities that followed were working-out and dancing with 11.6 percent each, treadmill (8.9 percent), tennis (6.3 percent), bowling (5.4) and lastly, swimming (4.5 percent). The researchers discovered that cases that occurred at fitness facilities yielded more positive results with higher survival rates. The presence of an AED played a huge factor.

"Our findings should encourage broader implementation of and adherence to recommendations for AED placement and sudden cardiac arrest response protocols at traditional exercise facilities," said Richard L. Page, MD, FACC, lead author of the study and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "In addition, these standards should be extended to alternative fitness facilities, where sudden cardiac arrest incidence is comparable to that seen at traditional exercise facilities."

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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