Last week, a healthy and active 17-year-old girl suddenly suffered a cardiac arrest during a cheer competition, leading to multiple seizures.
Keianna Joe had a seizure and stopped breathing after suffering a cardiac arrest while in warmups at a competition in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“I need everyone to pray for my beautiful girl. At a cheer competition today she had a seizure and stopped breathing. She is in the pediatric ICU now intubated and still unresponsive. We need the prayer chain to start her healing,” Keianna’s mother, Andrea Joe wrote on her Facebook account.
Andrea said that they still do not know what caused the seizure, but they suspect at first that it was caused by her not eating and consuming a Red Bull, as well as the “stimulation of cheer caused her heart to go into arrhythmia, triggering multiple seizures.”
On her Facebook account, Andrea gave a detailed description of what had happened.
“While in warmups at a competition in Raleigh, she was coming down from a stunt when she started acting “weird.” They got her to the ground gently and her coach noticed her flexing with her eyes rolled back. There was another coach there who happened to be a [registered nurse] came to her side and realized immediately she was not breathing, checked for a pulse and started CPR. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there. I then got to my daughters side felt for a pulse and did not find one so I took over CPR. I did 3-4 rounds of CPR placed the AED and gave 1 shock. Then a grandfather from our gym took over with CPR. She started breathing on her own at that time but still unresponsive. Paramedics brought her to the hospital where she had 3 more seizures and coded so they intubated her. At this time she is still intubated but stable. We are not 100% sure what caused this but believe her not eating, drinking a Red Bull and the stimulation of cheer caused her heart to go into Arrhythmia triggering multiple seizures. I want to thank the coach who started CPR and the grandfather who took over CPR for me and the entire cheer family who came to the hospital tonight. No words can say how thankful I am. Now we just pray for my beautiful girl to wake up and get back to her normal feisty self.”
“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,” according to a fundraising campaign.
“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,” the campaign reads.
Andrea gave another update and said that she had a severe cardiac arrest that triggered seizures, and it was not the result of not drinking a Red Bull.
She added that they might have to put an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) in Keianna.
“So today her recovery process took a huge turn in a different direction. We received the results from the AED that was used to shock her and learned her heart was in ventricular fibrillation which is why shock was given. So this being said she didn’t just have a seizure she had a severe cardiac arrest which triggered seizures. Due to this new diagnosis, she was transferred to Duke to be followed by some of the best pediatric cardiac doctors in the nation. Originally the ONKY thing we could relate this to was her not eating and drinking a Red Bull. We have been informed that this was NOT caused by those two things alone. (Although it is still very bad to not eat drink a Red Bull and compete) these were not very big factors. I was told that the quick response by her coaches and the immediate CPR starting is why she is recovering so fast because it kept all her organs working her heart would have never recovered from this rhythm without the use of the AED. She is struggling coming to terms with the news that CHEER and track are over for her as these were her true passion. She is still in fairly good spirits being sassy and making me laugh with all her hilarious comments. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the news that my 17-year-old athletic daughter had a severe heart attack. She still has a very long road ahead with multiple Dr visits so I am asking for everyone to continue and pray for her healing as well as her peace of mind. They are planning on placing an internal defibrillator in her after the results of more MRIs and other stress tests come in. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the prayer and well wishes it is truly felt and I am overwhelmed by the support and love everyone has shown.”
On Saturday, Andrea said her daughter had an MRI that ruled out heart abnormalities, which includes “ruling out any COVID vaccine as being a contributing factor.” The doctors have no idea what caused her to have a heart attack.
Doctors were suspecting a long QT syndrome, also called a heart conduction disorder, a heart signaling disorder that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats (arrhythmias).
“She has continued to improve with her short-term memory loss. She has been at Duke University Hospital for 3 days and is doing about as well as a 17-year-old stuck in a hospital room should. They have run so many different tests on her I lost count but the most recent was a heart MRI which came back normal ruling out any abnormalities. This includes ruling out any covid vaccine as being a contributing factor. Yes, I had a very long discussion with her cardiac team and we are exploring EVERY possibility. Her Echo and EKG are normal. She did a stress test today where she ran on a treadmill. (Funny story, when the Dr asked if she was feeling like she could tolerate a treadmill she responded with, “I run for fun, I can’t wait let’s go.” ). That came back with just a slight arrhythmia but nothing that they would think to cause the sudden cardiac arrest in a healthy active 17-year-old. They have been discussing something that is called long QT Syndrome. (Look it up it’s too long to explain.). Because as of now this is what they call idiopathic cardiac arrest or in better terms, they have no clue why she had a cardiac arrest, they will be placing an ICD device in her on Monday. This will continue to monitor her rhythm at all times and if needed will give an emergency shock to the heart. She is in agreement that this is the best thing for her at this time, I told her it was either this device or I go wherever she goes at all times including school in case I need to do CPR again. That made the decision really easy. But seriously thank you is just not enough to express how eternally grateful we are that she is still here today. It is something like only 17% of people who go into sudden cardiac arrest with VFib survive if happened outside an emergency care facility. That is not a very high percent and this beautiful sassy brilliant girl is living proof God is the one in control and has bigger plans for this child.”