In their research, Page and his colleagues studied where cardiac arrests occurred in the Seattle area -- in indoor public places only -- between 1996 and 2008. They found 960 cases, 150 of which occurred at exercise facilities.
In the exercise facilities, 90 percent of the victims were men, 77 percent got CPR, 16 percent were treated with an automatic defibrillator machine and 50 percent survived.
Elsewhere in indoor public places, 75 percent of victims were men, 55 percent got CPR, 7 percent were treated with an automatic defibrillator machine and 36 percent survived.
At the exercise facilities, researchers found that 16 percent of the cardiac arrest sufferers were playing basketball, 9 percent were dancing, 9 percent "working out," 8 percent were on a treadmill and 8 percent each were playing tennis, bowling, swimming or weight lifting.
Though exercise is good for you overall, it does raise the risk for cardiac arrest, said Page, former president of the Heart Rhythm Society.
When asked why bowling alleys have so many cases of cardiac arrest, considering that bowling isn't a high-impact form of exercise, Page said the answer might lie in the fitness of bowlers and the atmosphere at a bowling alley, where people may be drinking alcohol.
He suggested that automatic defibrillators, which are often required in certain public places, should be placed in bowling alley s and dance studios, too. The machines typically cost $2,000 to $3,000.
Dr. Byron K. Lee, director of the electrophysiology laboratories and clinics at the University of California, San Francisco, said that though the study was interesting, it did not say whether the various physical activities boosted the risk for cardiac arrest over "baseline." Nor, he said, did it provide enough information to confirm whether the risk is high enough to warrant defibrillators in those places.<
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