The Heart of Seattle Schools Project is the collective work of volunteer medical professionals and other community leaders dedicated to making our schools and community safer from sudden cardiac arrest through education, emergency response planning, CPR training, and placement of AEDs into every public school in Seattle.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the sudden onset of an abnormal and lethal heart rhythm. SCA is the leading cause of death in the U.S., afflicting over 300,000 individuals per year. SCA is also the leading cause of sudden death in exercising young athletes.
Schools are responsible for a dense population of children and adults, and are frequently the site of sporting events and other community gatherings. Studies suggest that up to 1 in 25 schools will have a cardiac medical emergency on school grounds each year. Approximately two-thirds of SCA cases on campus are in older non-students such as teachers, staff, spectators, and other visitors, and about one-third are in students.
The strongest predictor of survival after SCA is a short time interval from arrest to defibrillation (shock). However, even the best EMS systems can have delays, and the average time from 9-1-1 call to arrival on scene at an SCA victim is 6-8 minutes. In the U.S., the average survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is <5%. Research has shown that having on-site AEDs available to treat a SCA increases the survival rate more than 10 times (to greater than 60%).
AEDs are portable devices that read and analyze the heart rhythm and provide an electric shock to restore the heart to a normal rhythm if necessary. Access to AEDs in public locations, such as casinos, airports, and schools increases the survival rate from SCA to 50-70%. Recent research also suggests that survival in victims of SCA occurring in a school equipped with an on-site AED program is over 60%. Having an AED and emergency response plan at a school increases the likelihood of survival for victims of cardiac arrest approximately 10-fold.
Many people wonder if AEDs are safe to use. While it is crucial to train school personnel regarding placement and effective use of the equipment, AEDs come with simple instructions including voice and visual prompts. The AED will not provide a shock to the heart unless an abnormal heart rhythm is detected.
Through private funding and community resources, the Heart of Seattle Schools Project will assist the Seattle School District implement an AED program in every school, raise awareness regarding SCA, and produce a safer community. Specifically, our goals are to:
Please join us in this important initiative!
Heart of Seattle Schools, Board of Directors
Jonathan Drezner, MD (Chair) - UW Department of Family Medicine
Rosemary Agostini, MD - Group Health Cooperative
Steve Anderson, MD - Auburn Regional Medical Center
Monique Burton, MD - Seattle Children's Hospital
Aaron Karls, EMT-P - Seattle Fire Fighters Union
Pegi McEvoy, MN, ARNP - Seattle Public Schools
Darla Varrenti - Nick of Time Foundation
The Heart of Seattle Schools Project, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC are proud to host several fundraising events throughout the Puget Sound this year. For more information and to be added to our mailing list, please contact Sue Apodaca.
The Heart of Seattle Schools Project gratefully accepts donations. Heart of Seattle Schools is a nonprofit and tax exempt organization under the 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your tax deductible donations will enable Heart of Seattle Schools to equip all Seattle Public Schools with Automatic External Defibrillators, and assist in personnel training and equipment maintenance. The use of an AED increases the survival rate by 10 times for any person, of any age, who suffers a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Thank you for your support!