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U-M’s Project ADAM Michigan can help schools prepare for sudden cardiac arrest emergencies

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center offers free guidance, planning for schools on sudden cardiac arrest preparedness

Ann Arbor, Mich. – An automated external defibrillator (AED) can’t do much good in a school if no one is trained and ready to use it in an emergency.

So the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Congenital Heart Center has become the Michigan affiliate for Project ADAM, a national group dedicated to training school staff, families and students in how to use life-saving equipment like AEDs along with techniques like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Project ADAM began in 1999 after a series of sudden deaths among high school athletes in southeastern Wisconsin. After Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old Whitefish Bay, WI, high school student collapsed and died while playing basketball, Adam's parents collaborated with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to create this program in Adam's memory.

Between 1999 and 2009 in Michigan, there were 3,134 individuals between one year and 39 years of age who died of sudden cardiac death, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Of those, 246 were between 5 and 19 years of age.

U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center helps survivors learn about and manage the condition that causes sudden cardiac incidents – but key to that is that someone knows how to use the tools needed for survival.

“We estimate about 20 percent of a community is in its schools on any given day, including students, teachers, staff and family members. So it’s not enough simply to have AEDs in schools,” says Monica Goble, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the U-M Medical School and a pediatric cardiologist at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

“Lives are saved when schools are prepared and well trained on how to react in the event of a cardiac emergency.”

Today, the Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH), Education (MDE), Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young (MAP-SCDY) and the American Heart Association (AHA) awarded 40 schools in Michigan with the new MI HEARTSafe School designation; this designation recognizes a  school's efforts to prepare for cardiac emergencies.

It’s a good start, Goble says, but she hopes even more schools will prepare for sudden cardiac emergencies.
Schools that participate in Project ADAM Michigan receive a consultation with pediatric health care professionals from University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to help:
•    Identify a project coordinator
•    Implement the program and provide information about acquiring CPR/AED training
•    Provide information about risk factors and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest
•    Get connected with other schools served by Project ADAM to share best practices
•    Get connected with organizations that can help with funding considerations for an AED program
•    Provide step-by-step activities necessary to develop a publicly accessible defibrillator program.
“A shock delivered by an AED within three to five minutes can save a life,” Goble says. “In rural areas, the response time of emergency medical service is often longer than in urban areas. For each minute that passes after a sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the chance of survival falls by 10 percent.

“With an AED on-site, and a properly trained, prepared team, responders can immediately attempt to save a life. We think that’s tremendously important.”

These school-based efforts have widespread support.  In February, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed Public Act 12 of 2014 requiring Michigan schools (grades kindergarten to 12) to have a cardiac emergency response plan in place by July 1.

For more information on Michigan’s Project ADAM, go to

About congenital heart services at  C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital: The specialists at the Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital are skilled at treating the full spectrum of congenital heart conditions. U.S. News and World Report ranked our program sixth in the country for cardiology and heart surgery. More information is available at

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