Project ADAM: Iowa Heartland
We offer an onsite, phone, and a written review of your current cardiac emergency action plan (EAP). A comprehensive EAP may save the life of a student, staff member, parent, or visitor who experiences sudden cardiac arrest.
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) happens when a child or adult experiences a sudden collapse because of ventricular fibrillation. This disorganized heart rhythm causes the heart to suddenly stop beating normally, and blood does not pump through the body. Because blood isn’t reaching the lungs or brain, the person suddenly passes out and becomes unresponsive with no pulse and abnormal or no breathing.
Warning signs of possible SCA risk:
- Discomfort, pain, or pressure in the chest during or after exercise
- Fainting, nearly fainting, or seizure-like activity during or after exercise, emotion or surprise
- Excessive, unexpected and unexplained fatigue or shortness of breath with exercise
- Skipping or racing heartbeats
- Family history of sudden death before age 50 or heart abnormalities
How is SCA treated?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device that looks for a shockable heart rhythm and delivers a shock only if needed. It is small, portable, automated, and easy to operate. Voice prompts give instructions, and AED will not shock someone unless it is needed. Successful resuscitation depends on treatment with CPR and an AED within two to three minutes of the person’s collapse.
How can our school or organization be prepared if someone experiences SCA?
Purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED) is only a small part of a successful action plan. The key elements of a good cardiac emergency action plan (EAP) include the following:
- A written plan that includes communication, response team training, and practice and actions, including use of AED
- A first responder team of five to 10 people who are trained in CPR, use of the AED and the EAP
- Emergency drill at least annually
Schools that participate in Project ADAM: Iowa Heartland Heart Safe Schools program receive:
- Consultation with pediatric health care professionals at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital
- Educational materials on sudden cardiac arrest and how to be prepared in the event of an arrest
- Training and implementation assistance for your organization’s emergency action plan in the event of SCA
Facts about SCA and Project ADAM
- There are approximately 350,000 sudden cardiac deaths in the U.S. annually, equal to almost 1,000 every day.
- About 7,000 children and adolescents suffer sudden cardiac arrest every year
- Approximately 20% of a community is in its schools on any given day, including students, teachers, staff, spectators, and family members
- Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes
- Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory) began at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in 1999 after a series of sudden cardiac deaths among high school athletes. Adam Lemel passed away on the basketball court due to sudden cardiac arrest.
- Adam’s parents and Dr. Stuart Berger, a pediatric cardiologist, founded Project ADAM to increase education and preparedness for sudden cardiac arrest in schools.