North Carolina Mom Saves Daughter's Life After Suffering Cardiac Arrest: 'Scariest Moment of My Life'

"This is my baby and I have to save her," Andrea Joe said of the moment she performed CPR on her 17-year-old daughter Keianna when she collapsed during a cheerleading competition

Keianna Joe and Andrea Joe
Photo: KPRC Click2Houston

A North Carolina mother is credited for saving her teenage daughter's life after she went into cardiac arrest during a cheerleading competition.

Earlier this month, Keianna Joe was warming up for her cheerleading competition when she collapsed and was unresponsive. The 17-year-old was in cardiac arrest with no pulse when her mother Andrea Joe, a certified medical assistant, quickly stepped in to help with CPR.

"I saw her coach came running out of the back door of the other building screaming just frantically, 'Get an ambulance. Get an ambulance. We need the ambulance here now,'" Andrea told Today. "I just took over. I know CPR, I know how to do this. This is my baby and I have to save her."

"I was like, 'Come on, Keianna Come on. We're not doing this. We're not doing this today.'" she said, noting that she performed CPR for nearly 10 minutes. "The vision of her laying there, not moving, not breathing, not responding, was the scariest moment of my life."

The competition staff then brought in a portable defibrillator, which indicated that Keianna needed to be shocked. A single shock with additional CPR helped to get her heart beating again before being taken to the hospital.

Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function, resulting from a problem with the heart's electrical system, according to the Mayo Clinic. This disrupts the heart's pumping action and stops blood flow through the body.

A person suffering a cardiac arrest can experience immediate and drastic symptoms like a sudden collapse, no pulse, no breathing, and a loss of consciousness. Warning signs can include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, weakness and a heart palpitations.

It is often fatal if proper steps aren't taken immediately. CPR can improve the chances of survival until emergency medical assistance arrives. More than 356,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital in the United States each year, according to the American Heart Association.

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Keianna spent 10 days recovering in the hospital. As doctors worked to determine the cause of her cardiac arrest, medical personnel praised Andrea's quick work.

"Her mom, just without hesitation, shocked her daughter back into a normal rhythm and saved her life," Dr. Zeb Spector — who treated Keianna at Duke Children's Hospital in Durham, North Carolina — told the outlet.

A small defibrillator was ultimately implanted in Keianna's chest before going home and the teen said she's "blessed" and grateful for her mother's life-saving efforts and continuous support.

"It was very hard for me to be in the hospital and away from my family," Keianna said. "But the one person that was always by my side and then I knew that was always there was my mom."

"Driving home from the hospital, I just kept looking at her," Andrea added. "And I made her hold my hand, and I just cried because she's with me. She's here. She's right next to me. And I've got her and it's the best feeling ever."

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