Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the abrupt, unexpected loss of heart function, usually resulting from an electrical problem within the heart.
A natural electrical system within the heart causes the heart muscle to contract in an orderly, normal rhythm. When the electrical current through the heart is interrupted, the heart muscle contracts irregularly (arrhythmia). Often arrhythmias can be temporary and harmless; however more serious arrhythmias can lead to a sudden stop in heart function, also known as sudden cardiac arrest.
Ventricular fibrillation (v-fib) is the most serious heart arrhythmia, in which the lower heart chambers (ventricles) quiver rather than contract. When this happens, the heart stops efficiently pumping blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. This causes the victim to collapse and lose consciousness, and if not treated within minutes results in sudden cardiac death (SCD).
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. When properly applied, the AED automatically analyzes the heart rhythm and determines whether it is normal or abnormal. If an abnormal life threatening rhythm is found, the AED will recommend delivering a shock. Depending on the machine specifications, the AED will either automatically deliver a shock or instruct the rescuer to deliver a shock by pressing a clearly identified button on the AED
AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). When SCA occurs, the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, cutting off blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. SCA is fatal if not treated immediately. Having access to an AED can save the life of somebody having a SCA during those critical first few minutes.
It is not enough to simply have an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the building, Heart Safe Schools commit to the following:
Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory) began in 1999 following a series of sudden deaths among high school athletes in southeastern Wisconsin. The cause of death appeared to be ventricular fibrillation, in which the lower heart chambers (ventricles) quiver rather than contract. When this happens, the heart stops efficiently pumping blood and if not treated within minutes, results in sudden cardiac death (SCD).
The family and friends of one of these athletes, 17-year-old Adam Lemel of Whitefish Bay High School, joined together with the Children’s Hospital and Health System of Wisconsin to start Project ADAM in his memory. Project ADAM’s mission is to help schools nationwide start and sustain a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program.
Since its founding, Project ADAM has expanded to 29 states with 33 affiliate programs at medical centers across the country, which has led to more than 200 lives saved on school campuses.
Established at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in 2015, Project ADAM Sacramento was the first California affiliate of Project ADAM.
Project ADAM Sacramento was established at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in 2015 and was the first California affiliate of Project ADAM. Our program team includes:
Rebecca McCormac, Project ADAM coordinator
Heather Siefkes, M.D., M.S.C.I., Project ADAM medical director
c/o UC Davis Pediatric Heart Center
2315 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817