Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam's Memory) aims to prevent sudden cardiac death in children and adolescents through education and implementation of life-saving programs.
Project ADAM began in 1999 after a series of sudden deaths among high school athletes in southeastern Wisconsin, including 17-year-old Adam Lemel. Many of these deaths appeared to be due to ventricular fibrillation, a condition in which the ventricles cannot pump blood into the body. Adam’s parents, Patty and Joe Lemel, collaborated with the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to create this program in Adam’s memory.
Project ADAM helps schools nationwide implement programs to make automated external defibrillators (AEDs) readily available by preparing schools for a cardiac emergency through emergency response plans, staff CPR and AED training, student CPR education, and sudden cardiac arrest awareness education.
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device which, when properly applied, automatically diagnoses potentially life-threatening heart rhythms, The AED decides whether or not a shock is needed, then delivers a shock to restore normal heart rhythm.
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.
There are approximately 350,000 sudden cardiac deaths in the U.S. each year, equal to almost 1,000 every day. At least 600 to 1,000 of these sudden cardiac deaths occur in children or adolescents. Approximately 20 percent of a community is in its schools on any given day, including students, teachers, staff and family members. A focused effort on cardiac arrest preparedness in schools is critical to protecting our children and others in the school community.
Schools are the setting for many community activities, including sporting events, which pose a great risk for a sudden cardiac arrest event. While the primary goal of school CPR and AED programs is to decrease the number of sudden cardiac deaths among youths, these programs have also been instrumental in saving adult lives.
Cardiac emergency response program implementation can easily be incorporated into a school's Multi-Hazard Emergency Preparedness Plan. Having CPR and AED programs in schools provides further opportunity to educate staff, students and families about sudden cardiac arrest and appropriate life saving response.
Heart Safe Schools is a heart safety program that recognizes Ohio schools for:
What is the benefit to being a Project ADAM Ohio Heart Safe School?
How do we become a Heart Safe School?
Special Note: Project ADAM is committed to supporting individual schools wherever they are in the process of implementing a school CPR-AED program. Our Heart Safe Schools program is focused on the core elements of sudden cardiac arrest awareness, cardiac emergency response plans, cardiac emergency response drills. If you need assistance with your CPR-AED program, please reach out so we can offer support and resources.
Download the Project ADAM Ohio Heart Safe Schools Checklist here.
Featured Faculty: Dr. Naomi Kertesz
Naomi Kertesz, MD
Naomi Kertesz, MD, is the Medical Director of Project ADAM and Director of Electrophysiology and Pacing at The Heart Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
AEDs in the news
After a 9-year-old boy dies on the football field, Naomi Kertesz, MD, questions why coaches don’t have defibrillators.
AEDs on Pediacast