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Original research article
Outcomes after sudden cardiac arrest in sports centres with and without on-site external defibrillators
  1. Daniela Aschieri1,
  2. Diego Penela1,
  3. Valentina Pelizzoni1,
  4. Federico Guerra2,
  5. Anna Chiara Vermi1,
  6. Luca Rossi1,
  7. Lucia Torretta1,
  8. Giulia Losi1,
  9. Giovanni Quinto Villani1,
  10. Alessandro Capucci2
  1. 1 Cardiology Department, Ospdale Guglielmo da Saliceto, Piacenza, Italy
  2. 2 Cardiology and Arrhythmology Clinic, Marche Polytechnic University, University Hospital ‘Ospedali Riuniti’, Ancona, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Diego Penela, Cardiology Department, Ospedale Guglielmo da Saliceto, Piacenza, 29121 Italy; penela.maceda{at}


Objective Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a rare but tragic event during amateur sports activities. Our aim is to analyse whether availability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in amateur sports centres could impact on SCA survival.

Methods This is an observational study. During an 18-year period, data regarding exercise-related SCA in sports centres were prospectively collected. Survival rates and time to response were compared between centres with an AED already available and centres where an AED was not already present.

Results Out of 252 sports facilities, 207 (82%) acquired an AED during follow-up while 45 (18%) did not. From 1999 to 2014, there were 26 SCAs (24 (92%) men, 54±17 years old) with 15 (58%) of them in centres with on-site AED. Neurologically intact survival rates were 93% in centres with on-site AED and 9% in centres without (P<0.001). Presence of on-site AED, presence of shockable rhythm, first assistance by a lay bystander and time to defibrillation were all related to neurological intact survival, but the presence of on-site AED was the only independent predictor in the multivariate analysis. The use of on-site AED resulted in a lower time to first shock when compared with emergency medical system-delivered AED (3.3±1.4min vs 7.3±3.2 min; P=0.001).

Conclusions The presence of on-site AEDs is associated with neurologically intact survival after an exercise-related SCA. Continuous efforts are recommended in order to introduce AEDs in sports and fitness centres, implement educational programmes and increase common awareness about SCA.

  • cardiac arrest

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  • Contributors DA, DP and FG wrote the manuscript. DA, GQV and AC planned the study. FG performed the statistical analysis. VP, VAC, LR, TL and GL collected data. DA is responsible for the overall content as guarantor.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The present observational study complies with the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the local regulatory authorities.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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