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Automated External Defibrillators in Health/Fitness Facilities: Joint Position Statement of ACSM and AHA

In 1998, the AHA/ACSM published recommendations for health/fitness facilities regarding the screening of clients for the presence of cardiovascular disease, appropriate staffing, emergency policies, equipment, and procedures relative to the client base of a given facility. Accordingly, health/fitness facilities are defined as organizations that offer exercise-based health and fitness programs as their primary or secondary service or that promote moderate- to vigorous-intensity recreational physical activity. These range from level 1 (unsupervised exercise room) to level 5 (medically supervised exercise program), and their specific characteristics are outlined in Table 1. Details regarding emergency readiness are provided in the AHA/ACSM recommendations and emphasize that all health/fitness facilities must have written emergency policies and procedures that are reviewed and practiced regularly, and that in all supervised facilities, exercise leaders must be trained in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Because of the publication of the 1998 AHA/ACSM recommendations, 47 states have since passed Good Samaritan legislation, and the federal government has passed the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act and the Rural Access to Emergency Devices Act as components of the federal Public Health Improvement Act of 2000. These state and federal laws now serve to expand Good Samaritan legal protections to users of an automated external defibrillators (AED) throughout the nation. Therefore, the purpose of this statement is to supplement the 1998 AHA/ACSM recommendations regarding the purchase and use of AEDs in health/fitness facilities. Similar to the parent document, these recommendations are based on a review of the literature and consensus of the writing group after having undergone extensive peer review and final approval by AHA and ACSM. The recommendations are not mandatory or all encompassing, nor do they limit provision of individualized care by health/fitness facilities exercising independent judgment.

View full ACSM/AHA joint position statement online.

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