Defibrillator Debate Electrifies Industry

by Diane Lofshult on May 01, 2002

Industry Watch

Since we last reported on automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in a Special Report that appeared in our March issue, several new developments have taken place. In the March 2002 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) released a Joint Position Statement addressing the purchase and use of AEDs in health and fitness facilities. This statement amplifies earlier recommendations made by the two organizations in 1998 and is in keeping with the YMCA of the USA’s guidelines released in a technical assistance paper on AEDs earlier this year.

The latest ACSM-AHA Joint Position Statement encourages all fitness facilities—especially those with “high memberships”—to make AEDs available to provide better emergency assistance for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. According to an ACSM press release dated March 5, 2002, the two organizations “strongly encourage AED training, presence of trained staff and placement of AEDs in facilities offering special programs to clinical populations.” The statement goes on to say it is “essential” that staff trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) be present during all hours of club operation and recommends having written emergency procedures and policies that designate CPR-trained staff as first responders.

“It’s a natural progression for ACSM to recommend AEDs for [fitness] facilities,” says Carl Foster, PhD, a member of the group who authored the new position statement. “A large number of individuals new to exercise begin their workouts in high-membership facilities, and possible heart problems may not have been assessed with the standard physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q). It’s important for them to have a measure of protection.”

Echoing the advice provided by Shirley Archer, JD, the author of the March Special Report commissioned by IDEA, the ACSM-AHA statement does acknowledge that emergency equipment alone cannot save lives. Rather, survival is dependent on following a chain of events: early recognition of cardiopulmonary arrest; early CPR; early defibrillation when indicated; and early advanced cardiac life support care. However, AEDs are vital in this chain because the survival rate for victims of sudden cardiac arrest decreases 7 to 10 percent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed, according to ACSM.

In another new development on this topic, legislation requiring health clubs to install AEDs has recently been introduced in three states. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have each put forth bills that would require one AED per fitness facility. Additionally, New Jersey is seeking to require that one person trained on the devices be on staff at all times. In recent years, AEDs have become standard emergency equipment for many other industries and are readily available on airplanes and in public venues such as shopping centers and gambling casinos.

IDEA Health Fitness Source , Volume 2003, Issue 5

© 2002 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach,...


Trending Articles

Dark Chocolate + Your Internal Biota = Good Health

The evidence supporting the health benefits of dark chocolate can now be tied scientifically to the millions of microbes living in your gut. Louisiana State University researchers reported in mid-M...

Eight Fascinating Facts About Fascia

Fascia has been enjoying the limelight in the fitness industry as one of the hottest topics in recent conference programming, workshops and ...

Ask the RD

Question: I have a couple of questions regarding eggs. Specifically, what is the best way to store them, and how long do I have to consume ...

Excessive Thoracic Kyphosis: More Than Just Bad Posture

Excessive thoracic kyphosis (ETK) is a disproportionate forward rounding or curvature of the middle and upper back, also known as the thorac...

Obesity's Impact on Lifespan

Here’s more reason to encourage individuals who are obese to move more and improve their diets: Obesity can chop up to 9 years off a l...

Liver Injury Due to Herbals and Dietary Supplements Is Up

If you regularly take herbals and dietary supplements, it may be time to reevaluate why you take them and what the potential cost to your he...

Cardio and Creative Core

Group fitness participants can’t seem to get enough of creative core and cardiovascular exercises. If you need innovative ideas to cha...

Cert by Selfie

Surf around on any of the major social media networks these days—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and especially Instagram—and you&r...

Answering the Age-Old Question “So, What Do You Think About This Diet?"

Since there is no one “best” diet, and since adherence to a new eating and exercise plan is the most important predictor of whet...