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Defibrillators in Dance Studios and Bowling Alleys Could Save Lives

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever checked to see whether your local bowling alley or dance studio has an automatic external defibrillator? Its presence if someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest could mean the difference between life and death, according to research presented Thursday at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting.

In cases of cardiac arrest, an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a potentially lifesaving device that can analyze the heart's electrical activity and, if appropriate, shock it back to a normal rhythm. The device has pads that are placed on a person's chest. A voice built into the machine can give rescuers step-by-step instructions.

While AEDs are everywhere from health clubs to offices, other places where people engage in physical activity are probably overlooked, said Dr. Richard Page, chair of the department of medicine at University of Wisconsin and co-author of the study.

"I think we need to consider exercise to be happening at a lot of different places," said Page. "The need for an AED should be recognized at not just traditional exercise facilities."

The study, which looked at data from 960 older adult patients in Seattle who had sudden cardiac arrest, found that some of the most common places where patients experienced sudden cardiac arrest included dancing studios and bowling alleys.

Page said that bowlers in general might not be as physically active, which could lead to a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Dancing, he said, requires strenuous aerobic exercise, which can also increase the risk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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