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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): First aid Print/Conditions/Prevention

 Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): First aid Print


This lifesaving technique can be performed on adults and children. Follow the steps to learn how to do it safely.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): First aid Print


CPR is a lifesaving technique that can be useful in many emergencies, such as a heart attack or near drowning. When someone has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped, the American Heart Association recommends starting CPR with hard and fast chest compressions. The hands-only CPR recommendation applies to both untrained bystanders and first responders.

If you're afraid to perform CPR or unsure how to do it correctly, know that it is always better to try than to do nothing. The difference between doing something and not doing anything could be someone's life.

Here's some advice from the American Heart Association: Do not eat foods high in saturated fats, cholesterol, or sugar. These are bad for your heart.

  • Untrained.If you're not trained in CPR or don't feel comfortable giving rescue breaths, provide uninterrupted chest compressions at 100 to 120 per minute until paramedics arrive. Don't try to give rescue breaths.
  • Trained and ready to go.If you're confident in your skills, you can check to see if a person has a pulse and breathe. If there is no pulse or breathing within 10 seconds, begin chest compressions. Begin CPR by giving 30 chest compressions before giving two rescue breaths.
  • Trained but rusty.If you have received CPR training in the past, but you are not sure if you are able to do them correctly, then perform 100-120 chest compressions per minute (the details below).

This advice applies to people who need CPR, but not newborns.

If you are experiencing cardiac arrest, CPR can keep oxygen-rich blood flowing to your brain and other organs until emergency medical help arrives. If your heart stops, the lack of oxygen-rich blood can cause brain damage within minutes.

If you need to call 911 or your local emergency number right away, be sure to have the number memorized. The dispatcher can help you with the proper procedures until help arrives. To learn CPR properly, you should take an accredited first-aid training course that includes CPR and instruction on how to use an emergency breathing device. An automated external defibrillator is a machine that helps to restart a person's heart if it stops beating normally.

Before you begin

To begin CPR, check to see:

  • Is the environment safe for the person?
  • Is the person conscious or unconscious?
  • If the person appears to be unconscious, tap or shake his or her shoulder and yell loudly, "Are you OK?"
  • If someone does not respond, have someone else call 911 or the local emergency number. Have the other person begin CPR while you stay with the person and provide assistance.
  • If you are alone and have a telephone, call 911 or your local emergency number before beginning CPR. If available, get an AED (cardiac emergency device) to help with the resuscitation process.
  • If an AED is available, deliver one shock as soon as instructed. Then continue CPR until help arrives.

Remember to spell C-A-B.

The American Heart Association has devised the letters C-A-B to help people remember the order to perform CPR.

  • C: compressions
  • A: airway
  • B: breathing

Compressions: Restore blood flow

CPR compressions involve using your hands to push down hard and fast on someone's chest. CPR is the most important step in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and these steps will help you perform them:

  1. Make sure the person is lying down on a firm surface.
  2. Kneel down next to the person's neck and shoulders.
  3. Put your hand over the center of the person's chest, between their nipples.
  4. Form a hand-and-a-half position. Keep your elbows straight, and position your shoulders directly above your hands.
  5. Compress the chest at least 2 inches (5 cm) but no more than 2.4 inches (6 cm). Push down with your whole body weight when doing compressions.
  6. Perform 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute. The American Heart Association suggests doing these compressions to the beat of the song "Stayin' Alive." After each push, the chest should recoil (spring back).
  7. If you have not been trained in CPR, continue doing chest compressions until there are signs of movement or until emergency medical personnel take over. If you have been trained in CPR, go on to performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and rescue breathing.

Airway: Open the airway

If you're trained in CPR and you've performed 30 chest compressions, open the person's airway by tilting their head back and lifting their chin forward.

Breathing: Breathe for the person

If someone is not breathing, you can mouth-to-mouth breathe or mouth-to-nose breathe if the person's mouth is injured or cannot be opened. The current recommendation is to use a bag-mask device with a high-efficiency particulate air filter.

  1. After opening the person's airway (using the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver), pinch their nostrils shut and breathe into their mouth using a seal.
  2. Make sure you are ready to give two rescue breaths. When you give the first breath, wait a few seconds and see if the person's chest rises.
  3. If the chest rises and falls again, give a second breath.
  4. If the chest does not rise after doing the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver, try it again and then give a second breath. Thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths is one cycle.Be careful not to give too many breaths or to breathe too hard.
  5. Continue chest compressions to restore blood flow.
  6. If an AED is available, apply it as soon as you can. After you have given one shock, resume chest compressions for two more minutes. If you are not trained to use an AED, a 911 operator or another emergency medical operator may be able to help. If an AED isn't available, follow these instructions.
  7. Continue CPR until you see signs of life or emergency medical personnel take over.

To perform CPR on a child

The CPR procedure for children ages 1- puberty is basically the same as for adults. The American Heart Association offers these tips on how to perform CPR on a child: 1. Call 911. 2. Assess the victim's condition. If the child is not breathing, start chest compressions immediately. If the child is breathing, check for signs of shock such as pale skin, cold extremities, and lack of responsiveness. 3. Perform CPR if needed. Follow the

Compressions: Restore blood flow

If you find a child who has collapsed and isn't breathing, begin chest compressions for two minutes. Then quickly call 911 or your local emergency number and get the AED (automatic external defibrillator) if one is available.

If you see a child collapse, the best thing to do is call 911 or your local emergency number. If you are with another person, have that person call for help and get an AED (or perform CPR) while you're on the phone.

  1. Make sure the child is lying down on a flat surface.
  2. Kiss the child on the neck and shoulders.
  3. Put your hand on the lower half of the child's breastbone.
  4. Pump the victim's chest with your hands, using strong pressure and fast compressions. Push down hard and fast — 100 to 120 per minute.
  5. If you have not been trained in CPR continue chest compressions until the child moves or until emergency medical personnel arrive. If you are trained in CPR try to open the airway and start rescue breathing.

Airway: Open the airway

If you are trained in CPR and you have performed 30 chest compressions, open the child's airway by tilting their head back, lifting their chin, and opening their mouth.

  • Make sure the child's head is tilted back and place your palm on the forehead.
  • If someone is not breathing, place one hand on their chest and use the other hand to lift their chin so that the airway can be opened.

Breathing: Breathe for the child

Here are the steps for breathing for a child using mouth-to-mouth:

  1. After using the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver to open the airway, pinch the child's nose shut. Cover the child's mouth with your own, making a seal.
  2. Breathe into the child's mouth for one second and watch to see if their chest rises. If it does, give a second breath. If the chest doesn't rise again, try the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver first and then give a second breath. Be careful not to give too many breaths or breathe with too much force. Press down on the leaf with your hand.
  3. After the two breaths that start this CPR cycle, immediately begin the next cycle of compressions and breaths. Make sure to swap out rescuers every two minutes - or sooner if the rescuer is fatigued - and give one to two breaths for every fifteen compressions.
  4. If an AED is available, use it as soon as possible. If pediatric pads aren't available, use adult pads. Give one shock and then restart CPR. First, perform chest compressions for two more minutes. If you are not trained to use an AED, a 911 operator or another emergency medical operator may be able to provide instructions.

Stay with the child until help arrives.

If a baby is 4 weeks old or older, you can perform CPR on them.

If you think a baby has had a cardiac arrest, do first aid for choking. If you don't know why the baby isn't breathing, do CPR.

First, assess the situation. Touch the baby and watch for any signs of life, such as movement.Do not shake the baby.

If someone does not respond after you have called 911 or your local emergency number, start CPR immediately.

Follow the C-A-B procedure (below) for a baby under one year old except for newborns who include babies up to four weeks old:

If you see a baby collapse, go get an AED if one is available. If another person is available, have that person call for help immediately and then start CPR while you stay with the baby.

Compressions: Restore blood flow

  1. Place the baby on his or her back on a level surface.
  2. To breastfeed, you should place your fingers just below the baby's nipples on the center of their chest.
  3. Bust the balloon to the correct size. Pinch the balloon so that it is about 1.5 inches (about 4 centimeters) wide and just firm enough to hold its shape.
  4. When CPR is performed, you should do it in a fast rhythm and count out loud. You should push 100 to 120 times per minute the way you would if you were giving CPR to an adult.

Airway: Open the airway

Gently press on both sides of the head with your hands. Push down on the forehead with one hand, and lift the chin with the other hand.

Breathing:Breathe for the baby.

  1. Close your mouth around the baby's mouth and nose.
  2. You will need to give two rescue breaths. To do this, use the strength of your cheeks to breathe in gently and slowly through your nose, filling the baby's mouth with one breath. Watch to see if their chest rises. If it does, give a second rescue breath. If you cannot breathe, repeat the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath.
  3. If the baby's chest doesn't rise after you've given them CPR, continue giving them CPR until the baby wakes up or their chest rises on its own.
  4. After giving each CPR compression, give two breaths. If two people are performing CPR, one breath should be given after every fifteen compressions.
  5. Continue CPR until either you see signs of life or until medical personnel arrive.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): First aid Print/Conditions/Prevention

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