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Need We Fear Exercise-induced Cardiac Arrest?

The media abounds with stories about the sudden collapse and death of athletes whom we assumed were in the best of health.  When such cases occur, we may become concerned about exercising ourselves.  A recent presentation describing people who had been exercising during or within one hour of a cardiac arrest may assuage these concerns to a degree.

The research, presented at the European Society of Cardiology by Dr. Arend Mosterd of the Netherlands, involved a three-year look at out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in people who had been exercising during or within one hour of their arrest. Almost half of the patients survived. “Persons suffering an exercise-related OHCA are three times more likely to survive the event than persons whose arrest is not exercise-related,” said Dr Mosterd. He added, however, that the good survival rate may have due to the fact that these individuals became ill in a public location where the situation was immediately noted and bystanders quickly began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), often with fast access to an automated external defibrillator. 

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