An Essential Guide to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

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Key Takeaway

  • Every second is crucial in providing cardiac arrest care. Brain damage can occur within minutes when oxygen-rich blood cannot reach the brain.
  • CPR involves a combination of chest compressions and mouth mouth breathing.
  • Even partially, keeping the oxygenated blood flow active extends the opportunity for successful resuscitation once emergency services arrive on site.
  • Compress the victim's chest at least 2 to 2.4 inches deep at a compression rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • Depending on the victim's condition, you can perform rescue breathing on the mouth or nose.
  • Let the chest rise fully between compressions.
  • Online CPR training classes are ideal for those with busy schedules or living in areas where in-person classes are not readily available.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skill is essential during life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest. It's an emergency procedure to revive someone whose heart has stopped beating and breathing. The procedure involves a combination of chest compressions and mouth mouth mouth resuscitation, which ensures oxygen supply restoration to the brain. It applies to patients and victims who fainted due to suffocation, neck or head injury, drowning, choking, heart attack, cardiac emergencies, etc. Everyone needs to acquire these life-saving skills through training, which is available even online.


Importance of CPR

Every second counts in saving a person's life in such an emergency. Earlier administration of CPR increases the chances of survival of the person. It is essential to perform CPR within the first ten minutes after the incident occurs. If the brain oxygen supply is cut off for ten minutes, the person can have permanent brain damage with almost zero chances of survival. According to recent research, performing CPR increases the chances of survival for cardiac arrest patients by 40%. Important to note is that CPR only applies to unconscious persons who are not breathing.

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What Are the Steps to Performing CPR?

Before responding, it's vital to ensure that the person is in a safe environment.


Check for consciousness

To check for consciousness, tap on the adult victim's shoulder firmly and ask, "Are you OK?" in a loud voice.


Call 911

If the victim is unconscious, call 911, or have someone else call, before performing CPR. Even if you perform high-quality CPR, getting an Emergency Response Team to the scene as quickly as possible is crucial. If possible, ask a bystander to look for an Automated External Defibrillator.



Begin CPR

While waiting for the emergency medical team, check the breathing for about 10 seconds. If the breathing is normal, put the victim in the recovery position and wait for the responders to arrive. If you do not hear the victim breathing or only hear a few gasps, begin CPR immediately.

The procedure for performing CPR takes a few steps. First, to easily remember, the term CAB is capped, which stands for compression, airway, and breathing.


Chest Compressions

  • Lay the victim on their back and kneel next to their shoulders and neck.
  • Place one hand on the individual's chest right between the nipples.
  • Place one hand on top of the other, interlocking the fingers.
  • Ensure your hands are straight on the elbows and shoulders directly above.
  • Push on hard with the heels of your hands using your upper body weight.
  • Compress the victim's chest at least 2 to 2.4 inches deep at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • If you do not have a CPR certification, perform hands-only CPR by repeating the compressions till the person gains consciousness or until medical specialists arrive and take over.
  • For a child and younger teenagers, you can use one hand to perform the compressions and make them at least 2 inches without exceeding 2.4 inches.
  • The chest compressions should not exceed 1.5 inches in babies four months and above.
  • Let the chest rise fully between compressions.



If you possess a certification, for instance, CPR online certification or related first aid certification, move on to the airway procedure. This procedure involves head and chin tilt and follows 30 chest compressions. Place one hand on the individual's forehead, gently tilting the head back. Use your other hand to open the airway by tilting the person's chin upwards.


Rescue Breathing

Depending on the victim's condition, you can perform rescue breathing on the mouth or nose. In this position, with the airway open, pinch on the person's nose and seal their mouth with your own. After the first one-second rescue breath, check to see if the victim's chest is moving. If the person doesn't respond, give a second rescue breath. Each two rescue breaths should be followed after 30 chest compressions. The rescue breathes should be gentle. For babies above four months, cover both their mouth and nose with your own and use your cheeks volume to deliver two (one-second) rescue breaths.


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When performing CPR on an adult, you mustprovide 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths. You will need to continue this until emergency medical services arrive or advanced emergency care becomes available. If the victim starts to move, cough, or talk, you will need to put them in a recovery position. Doing CPR can be exhausting, so if possible, with minimal interruption, swap between doing mouth-to-mouth and compressions so you can keep going with effective compressions.



If more than one rescuer is present, provide CPR while the automatic external defibrillator (AED) is retrieved and prepared. Once powered on, the AED will instruct the rescuer on how to place the electrodes (pads) over the victim's heart. If the victim has a hairy chest, shave the area covered by electrode pads.

Choose adult pads for victims who are eight years of age or older. You may use adult pads for children below eight years old, but you should ensure the pads do not touch or overlap. A manual defibrillator is preferred in infants.

The AED will scan the victim's heart, checking if the shock is necessary. Ensure that no one is in contact with the victim while the AED assesses the victim. Rescuers should follow the prompts given by the machine. The AED will charge and automatically shock the victim if necessary. Ensure that no one else is touching the victim to reduce the risk of bystanders being shocked. Following the initial shock, the machine will reassess the victim to determine if an additional shock is necessary. Continue CPR when prompted.


Safety Precautions in CPR

  • The resuscitation technique is not suitable for infants under four months of age.
  • When giving the rescue breath, do not give too many; you should also avoid breathing too hard into the individual.
  • Professional medical assistance should follow even after the patient breathes normally.


How to Become CPR Certified?

CPR certification can be obtained in person through workshops and hands-on classes typically offered by hospitals, community centers, and other health organizations online. Online CPR training classes are ideal for those with busy schedules or living in areas where in-person classes are not readily available.

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When a life-threatening emergency occurs, the difference between acting and doing nothing makes all the difference. Therefore, every person should try to acquire different first aid skills. You never know when your skills may be helpful in saving someone's life.

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