More proof automated external defibrillators save lives
A new study finds that people who experience sudden cardiac arrest at exercise facilities have a better chance of surviving than those who experience it at other locations.
That’s because traditional exercise centers like health clubs and gyms are more likely to have automated external defibrillators (AED) on site along with staff trained in CPR. The report was published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Study leaders say the findings support efforts to have AEDs available in more places where people exert themselves and where they may be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
“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 Dr. Richard L. Page, of the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in a statement. “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.”
Researchers analyzed data from 850 sudden cardiac arrest episodes that happened at indoor facilities over a 12-year period. They differentiated between “traditional” places like health clubs and fitness centers as compared to “alternative” facilities like hotel gyms, dance studios and bowling alleys.
Survival rates were found to be 56 percent if the event happened at a traditional facility compared to 45 percent at alternative facilities. Interestingly, the analysis showed that people who were playing basketball were the most likely to have sudden cardiac arrest.
According to the National Institutes of Health, sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating stopping the flow of blood to the brain and other organs.
The study findings can be related to Mike Imbrogno’s experience last year, who went into sudden cardiac arrest after working out at the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center located on the campus of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. He’s a living example of what study leaders discovered.
Several staff members rushed to Imbrogno’s aid with an AED and saved his life. He was then brought to the hospital where surgeons placed a coronary stent to open a blocked artery, restoring blood flow to the heart.
“If this had happened 30 minutes later, or at any other place or time, I would not be alive today,” Imbrogno said. “The staff literally gave me my life back. I cannot find words to express my gratitude.”
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