17-year-olds should not have heart attacks.
But lately, we've been hearing too many stories like this one.
Keianna Joe, a 17-year-old high school student and cheerleader went into cardiac arrest while warming up for a competition.
The Harnett County cheerleader, who cheers competitively for a team in Sanford, is now recovering at Duke Medical Center in North Carolina after her mother saved her life with a shock from an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).
While at a competition last Sunday at Raleigh's Broughton High School, Keianna's mother, Andrea Joe, says her daughter was warming up when her muscles started twitching, her eyes rolled back, and she became unresponsive. Andrea thought her daughter was having a seizure, but a coach soon realized Keianna didn't have a pulse.
Andrea told WRAL NEWS:
They had just gotten finished with the very first stunt. At that point of the stunt, they come down to where the girls are holding her in a seated position. When she got to that position, she was unresponsive.
I had done two sets of compressions and breaths. I had looked over and toward my left side, and I finally saw that the AED machine had arrived.
What a horrible moment for a parent. Seeing their young, athletic child on the ground with no pulse...
From Fox 5 Vegas:
After two sets of chest compressions and breaths, Andrea Joe realized the AED had been brought over. She put the paddles on her daughter. The machine told her an electric shock was needed. She administered the shock and continued CPR until medics arrived.
Keianna Joe was taken to Duke Medical Center for a cardiac MRI, which confirmed the 17-year-old had suffered a heart attack. She remains in the hospital getting treatment, but her mother is just thankful she's alive.
The family wants to raise awareness about the AED available at the cheer competition and has also started a GoFundMe to cover Keianna's medical bills, which has raised over $19,500.
If we can save one life just with the knowledge of how important it is to get that AED and that every facility that has any kind of athletes in there [and] children at all, they need to have one.
According to the fundraising page, Keianna had three seizures while in the hospital and was put into a medically induced coma.
While at the hospital, Keianna had 3 more seizures and coded once again, so the decision was made to intubate her. At the time of this post, she is still in a medically induced coma in the ICU but is stable. We are unsure exactly what caused this incident, and can only speculate that her heart went into arrhythmia from a combination of dehydration, too much caffeine from an energy drink, and exercise.
It must be be a weird trend that's started happening everywhere recently...
Keianna will also receive an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), a device "used to detect and stop arrhythmias by delivering electric shocks as needed."