Support Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention in Your School Community

State Senator Brian Jones introduced SB1135 to augment the impact the Eric Paredes Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act has made to protect young hearts. Since its passage in 2017, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) prevention protocol has continued to evolve, namely with 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that call for all youth to get a heart screening at least every three years, and especially upon entry to middle, junior and high school.

Thanks to all your support, SB1135: California Youth Cardiac Screening Pilot was approved in the Senate and unanimously passed the Assembly Education Committee, which also recognized the value of proactive cardiac risk assessment for more of our state’s diverse youth population. The bill was then placed on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File, where bills are often subject to much politicking, and SB1135 was no exception so it will not advance for a final vote.

We are now strategizing next steps as we remain committed to our vision to eliminate preventable deaths and disabilities in youth from sudden cardiac arrest.

During this process, the opposition revealed how very little they care about using the tools we have to prevent sudden death from undetected heart conditions. Our physician constituents were greatly disheartened by the opposition’s ignorance of an entire body of evidenced-based data that shows we have the power to protect young hearts right now, not to mention their disregard for the 85,000 kids screened across the last decade by nonprofit foundations doing the real work, with nearly 1,500 requiring followup for a cardiac abnormality.

In the months to come we will keep you informed about how you can make your voice heard as we continue to advocate for better prevention protocol.

The underpinning of this initiative is the fact that about half of youth stricken by sudden cardiac arrest had no warning signs or family risk factors that would’ve triggered diagnostic followup to identify their heart condition before tragedy struck. The pilot is meant to provide a life-saving service to California youth while collecting the data necessary to continue to evolve the standard of care.

The concept supports the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model, which recognizes that education, public health and school health sectors must have greater alignment and collaboration, specifically in the areas of health education, health services, community involvement and family engagement, and above all, engaging students as active participants in their learning and health. WSCC asserts that schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and establishing lifelong behavior, which is why this bill seeks to collaborate with schools to advance this public health initiative, as well as empower the next generation of life savers to eradicate SCA in their lifetime.

Senate Education Committee Hearing
Support Testimony • March 30, 2022