News & Success Stories

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Her Heart Stopped - CPR Brought Her Back

Post Date:10/12/2023 3:32 PM

3x1 banner Pamela Kahn Blended Photo
Pamela Kahn was saved by CPR


By: Erika Cervantes-Aarons, Marketing and Communications Director, American Heart Association San Diego


Knowing how to respond in an emergency, especially the ability to perfom hands-only CPR, is a skill that saves lives every day. It starts the chain of survival when a person has a cardiac emergency.

In San Diego County, the American Heart Association teaches thousands of people hands-only CPR every year. The lifesaving skill is taught at schools through the Kids Heart Challenge initiative, and American Heart Association events throughout the community and at local businesses.

Heart association volunteer Pamela Kahn is all too familiar with the value of CPR. On July 9, 2015, her heart suddenly stopped during a medical procedure. CPR saved her life.


"As a grateful recipient of CPR, I'm happy to be able to be here to share my story, because I know firsthand the value of CPR and what it can offer to somebody," Kahn said. "The nurse who promptly performed CPR on me saved my life. She inspired me to become an advocate of CPR for the San Diego community."


According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention data, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double, or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival – which is key since about 90% of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. And, because about 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home, odds are the person who needs CPR will be a family member or friend.

The importance of hands-only CPR is being spread during World Restart a Heart Day on Oct. 16. The initiative is supported by all seven constituent councils of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, on which the American Heart Association represents the U.S. This is a global initiative to increase awareness about the importance of bystander CPR and to also increase bystander CPR rates worldwide by educating the public about learning hands-only CPR.

How Hands-Only CPR Works:

Hands-only CPR has just two simple steps, performed in this order:

  • Call 911 if you see someone suddenly collapse with strained or no breathing.
  • Push hard and fast in center of chest to the beat of a familiar song that has 100 to 120 beats per minute.

More information on hands-only CPR can be found here.

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