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The number of fitness centres has increased in Western countries, some proposing specific training programmes (cardiac patients, weight loss or seniors).There is a real risk of cardiovascular events for individuals without cardiovascular evaluation. Fitness centres could represent a place at particularly high risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). In this observational study, we evaluated the number of fitness centres with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the French-speaking part of Belgium, their geographic localization, the number of attendees, and the number of SCA reported. Details of AED and SCA were obtained by telephone survey. RESUITS: A total of 51 centres were surveyed. Only 5 (9.8%) had an AED and 68.8% (35/51) of centres had > 1 staff members specifically trained in CPR. Since the opening of these facilities, 5 SCA were reported from 3 centres (5.9%). Only 2 fitness centres had an AED present at the time of the SCA.Two SCA were unwitnessed, and for another 2 victims AED was used without success. Well-conducted CPR (no AED available) resulted in the only survivor of SCA. The rate of SCA in fitness centres in French-speaking Belgium is comparable to that reported in other countries. AED were available in less than 10% of centres and no CPR trained staff was available in almost one third of the centres.


Fabian Demeure, Jean-Benoît le Polain de Waroux, Sébastien Marchandise, Christophe Scavée. Automatic external defibrillators in Belgian fitness centres. Acta cardiologica. 2013 Apr;68(2):139-43

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PMID: 23705555

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