Monday, September 17, 2012
Study: AEDs, Trained Staff Can Aid Marathoners' Survival
New research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine provides marathon medical directors with this race strategy: Train your staff and have an automated external defibrillator handy in the event runners experience sudden cardiac arrest.
The survey, which appears in the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise® (Vol. 44, No. 10, pages 1843-1845), asked 88 medical directors about the number of incidents, treatments and outcomes they had witnessed during their marathons. Their responses indicate that most SCA episodes occur near the end of races, and that the victim’s survival hinges on the availability of early responders and an AED.
“Emergency planning with availability of AEDs throughout the race course is recommended, and if resources are limited, focus should be placed in the last four miles of the race, where the majority of sudden cardiac arrests occur,” said David Webner, physician and the study’s primary researcher, in an ASCM press release. “It is also important for all runners to establish a relationship with a primary care or sports medicine physician prior to marathon participation.”
ASCM considers the odds of suffering cardiac arrest during a marathon as “very low” — about one in 57,000 — but the biggest events are beginning to draw numbers in that statistical neighborhood. Last year, a world record 46,795 runners finished the New York City Marathon (this year’s event is scheduled for Nov. 4). Fatal episodes can occur regardless of race size and distance, however, with runner deaths marring events in Chicago, Detroit and Tulsa, Okla., in recent years.