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Learn CPR. It could save a life.

By the American Heart Association

She was working out at the gym when her heart stopped.

Nicole Tetreault, her husband, Brian, and their 2-year-old daughter, Ella, had eaten breakfast and taken a walk.

Nicole hadn't been feeling well since Friday. She'd had a headache and was nauseous. But on Sunday she was feeling better. She'd missed several days of exercising and was eager to get back to the gym.

She joined a late morning class at her fitness club near her home in Alpharetta, Georgia. When she arrived, she noticed a newcomer standing next to her.

During the first few minutes of warmup, before the high-intensity class began, Nicole saw herself in the mirror and thought, "I look tired. I'm not going to push myself today."

A few minutes later, 37-year-old Nicole picked up a weight for the first set of workouts and collapsed. She shook uncontrollably, foamed at the mouth, and turned purple from the chest up. She wasn't breathing.

That newcomer standing next to her? Former cardiac nurse Jen Boyer. She immediately assessed the situation and started CPR.

The fitness instructor, Phillip Thomas, a CPR, and AED instructor, ran to get the gym's automated external defibrillator and had a co-worker call 911.

Once the paramedics took over, they delivered two more shocks and continuous CPR at the gym before finally getting a pulse and heart rate. They then transported Nicole to the hospital. In the ambulance, her heart stopped again. Again, it was restarted with a defibrillator.

Doctors placed Nicole in a medically induced coma to give her brain time to heal. She woke up three days later. A nurse came into the room shortly after.

"Good evening!" the nurse said. "How are you feeling?"

"Terrible," Nicole replied. "Why am I here?"

"You need to call your husband," she said. "Do you remember your password for your phone?"

"Yeah, of course," Nicole answered and recited the code. It was ample proof the medical team needed that she'd overcome her ordeal without any brain damage.

This February is Heart Month, and AHA is encouraging every family in America to make sure at least one person in their home knows CPR.

Knowing CPR and being able to perform it is a skill set that saves lives each day. More than 350,000 EMS-assessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States.

When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

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