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Sudden death less likely in exercise related cardiac arrests

People who have a cardiac arrest during or shortly after exercise are three times more likely to survive than those who have a cardiac arrest that is not exercise related, according to research presented recently at the Munich ESC Congress 2012.

Researchers used data from the Amsterdam Resuscitation Study (ARREST) to determine the occurrence and prognosis of exercise related out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) in the greater Amsterdam area from 2006 to 2009. The number of exercise related OHCAs was low at just 48 per year, which equated to 5.8% of all OHCAs.

During the three year study period, 145 of the 2,517 OHCAs were in people who were exercising during or within 1 hour before the arrest, predominantly bicycling (n = 49), tennis (n = 22), workouts at the gym (n = 16) and swimming (n = 13). Only 10 of the 145 exercise related OHCAs were in women. Just seven (including one woman) exercise related OHCAs occurred in subjects aged 35 years or younger.

Almost half (65) of the 145 patients who had an exercise related OHCA survived the event. Patients suffering an exercise related OHCA had a much better prognosis better prognosis (45% survival) than cardiac arrests that were not exercise related (15% survival) (see table 1).

Table 1“Patients 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 Arend Mosterd (Meander Medical Center Amersfoort, Netherlands), who presented the findings. “None of the survivors of exercise related OHCA suffered serious neurologic damage, which was not the case for those surviving a non exercise related OHCA.”

Patients who had an exercise related OHCA were younger (mean age 58.8 ± 13.6 vs. 65.5 ± 15.8) and more likely to be male (93.1% vs. 71.9%) than those whose arrest was not exercise related. In addition, exercise related OHCAs occurred more frequently in public places (99.3% vs. 25.3%), were more frequently witnessed (89.0% vs. 75.7%) and had higher rates of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (86.2% vs. 64.4%) and AED (35.2% vs. 22.2%) use.

Dr Mosterd said: “The remarkably good survival of victims of exercise related out of hospital cardiac arrest can partially be ascribed to the fact that they are younger and more likely to suffer the arrest in a public location, leading to bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation, often with the use of an automated external defibrillator. Taking these factors into account exercise per se also contributes to a better outcome.”

mosterd

Dr Arend Mosterd (Meander Medical Center Amersfoort)

Dr Mosterd continued: “More research is needed to determine why, after taking into account favourable factors such as age, location of the event and initiation of CPR, persons who exercise during or shortly before having a cardiac arrest still have a better prognosis than people who have a cardiac arrest that is unrelated to exercise.”

He added: “The number of exercise related out of hospital cardiac arrests in the general population is low, particularly in women and in those aged 35 years or younger. We demonstrated for the first time that cardiac arrests occurring during or shortly after exercise carry a markedly better prognosis (45% survival) than cardiac arrests that are not exercise related (15% survival).”

Dr Mosterd concluded: “Prompt bystander initiation of CPR with the use of an AED is likely to be the key to improving outcome, an observation that should have direct implications for public health programmes aimed at preventing exercise related sudden death.”

References

1. Berdowski J, De Beus MF, Bardai A, et al. Exercise related out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: incidence, prognosis, and prevention of sudden death. Eur Heart J 2012;33 (Abstract Supplement):680.

Published on: October 19, 2012

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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