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HRS: Survival High in Cardiac Arrest at Exercise Facilities

Rate of survival is high for events occurring at both traditional and alternative exercise sites

FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) that occurs at an exercise facility, whether traditional (such as a gym) or nontraditional (such as a dance studio or bowling alley), is associated with a high rate of survival, according to research presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Scientific Sessions, held from May 4 to 7 in San Francisco.

Richard L. Page, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues gathered data on 960 cases of SCA at public indoor locations, including traditional and nontraditional exercise facilities, between 1996 and 2008, to compare frequency and outcomes.

The researchers identified 150 cases of SCA at traditional and alternative exercise facilities. These cases most commonly occurred among exercisers who were playing basketball (16 percent), dancing (8.7 percent), "working out" (8.7 percent), using a treadmill (8 percent), playing tennis (4.7 percent), and bowling or swimming (4 percent each). Survival was 50 percent in those whose SCA happened at an exercise site, versus 36 percent for those whose SCA occurred at other indoor sites. Having an SCA at an exercise site was associated with younger age; male gender; and a higher likelihood of ventricular fibrillation, bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and automatic external defibrillator (AED) placement.

"SCA at exercise sites is associated with a remarkably high rate of survival, likely related to the following: physical condition of the victim, prompt bystander response (with CPR and AED), and initial rhythm of ventricular fibrillation. Furthermore, SCA occurs with relatively high frequency at alternative exercise sites such as dance studios and bowling alleys. These data have important public health implications for AED placement," the authors write.

Abstract No. AB17-1
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