Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique that can prove to be useful in emergency situations in which someone’s heartbeat or breathing has suddenly stopped. Doing CPR right away can increase a person’s chances of surviving heart attack. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends people to start with chest compressions when they are doing CPR.
It is better to do something to help a person than to stand idle. Even if you are fearful that your skills or knowledge aren’t perfect, you should still do something to help a person who is about to lose their life. You never know your actions might just save them.
How to Act
If you have no idea about how to perform CPR, then you should only provide hands-only CPR. Don’t know what that means? Well, hands-on CPR means that you should give chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute without any interruption until the paramedical staff arrives. We will get to the details later. If you aren’t trained, you shouldn’t attempt rescue breathing.
If you are trained in CPR and believe that you can do it right, check the pulse and breathing of the person. If there isn’t any pulse or breathing within 10 seconds, start chest compressions. Begin with 30 chest compressions and then give two rescue breaths.
If you have received CPR training previously, but you aren’t confident in your abilities, do chest compressions of 100-120 a minute.
The advice provided above applies to infants, children and adults needing CPR. However, it doesn’t apply to newborns. CPR cannot restore normal heart rhythm, but it can restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the heart and brain until paramedics arrive to give a more definitive treatment. When the heart of a person stops, oxygenated blood flow stops, which can lead to brain damage within minutes. A person could die within 8 to 10 minutes. Therefore, CPR is very important and can save a person’s life. This is why you should take CPR training classes.
If you want to learn how to perform CPR properly, we recommend taking an accredited first-aid training course that includes CPR. If you aren’t trained and have access to a cell phone, call 911 immediately before you begin CPR.
The letters ‘C-A-B’ are used by the AHA to help everyone remember the order in which CPR is performed. C stands for compressions, A for airway, and B for breathing. Below we have shared detailed instructions on how to perform CPR.
Performing CPR on an Adult
Compressions – Restoring Blood Circulation
- Put the person on their back on a solid surface
- Kneel next to the shoulders and neck of the person
- Place the heel of your hand over the center of the individual’s chest, between their nipples. Your other hand will go on top of your first hand. Make sure that your elbows are straight and your shoulders are positioned above your hands
- Using the weight of your upper body, push straight down on the individual’s chest at least 2” but not any more than 2.4”. Push hard at the rate of 100-120 compressions a minute
- If you aren’t trained in CPR, keep going with chest compressions until you see any movement or paramedics take over. If you are trained in CPR, open the airway and then go forward with rescue breathing.
Airway – Opening the Air
If you are trained in CPR, perform 30 chest compressions and then open the airway of the person with the help of head-tilt, chin-lift technique. Put the palm of your hand on the forehead of the individual and tilt their head backwards very gently. Then use your other hand to lift their chin forward to open the airway.
Breathing – Breathe for the Individual
Rescue breathing can either be mouth-to-nose breathing or mouth-to-mouth breathing.
- Once you have opened the airway of the individual, pinch their nostrils shut and give mouth-to-mouth breathing. Cover their mouth with yours, creating a seal.
- Get ready to give two breaths. Give the first breath and see if their chest rises. If it rises, give the second rescue breath. If the chest of the person does not rise, try the head-tilt, chin-lift. technique again before giving the second rescue breath. Two rescue breaths and 30 chest compressions make one cycle. Make sure not to give to breathe with excessive force or provide excessive breaths.
- Resume chest compressions for restoring blood circulation.
- Once you have access to an automated external defibrillator (AED), apply it. Administer one shock before resuming CPR for two minutes and then administer a second shock. In case you don’t know how to use an AED, call 911 as they might be able to help you use it. If an AED is not available, go to the next step
- Continue CPR until you see signs of movement or paramedics take over
Performing CPR on a Child
The procedure of providing CPR to a child is almost the same as that for an adult. The AHA recommends the following for performing CPR on a child:
Compressions – Restoring Child’s Blood Circulation
If you’re alone and the child didn’t collapse in front of you, perform CPR on the child. Perform five cycles on the child, before calling 911 and getting the AED. If you are alone and saw a child collapse, immediately call 911 and get the AED, before beginning CPR. If there is another person there, ask them to make the call and get the AED while you start with compressions and breathing.
- Put the child on their back on a solid surface
- Sit down and kneel next to the shoulders and neck of the child
- Perform chest compressions using two hands or just one hand if the child is small. Press straight down on the chest of the child about 2” but not any greater than 2.4”. Push hard at 100-120 compressions a minute.
- If you aren’t trained in CPR, then continue with chest compressions until you see signs of movement or paramedics take over. If you are trained in CPR, you can open the airway and try rescue breathing.
Airway – Opening the Child’s Airway
If you are trained in CPR and have performed 30 compressions, open the airway of the child following the head-tilt, chin-lift technique. Place your palm on their forehead and tilt their head backwards. Then use the other hand to lift the chin forward and open the airway.
Breathing – Breathe for the Kid
- With the airway of the child open, pinch their nostrils shut and then give mouth-to-mouth breathing. Cover the mouth of the child with yours to make a seal.
- Now you must give two rescue breaths to the child. The first breath should last one second. When you give first breath, see if the chest of the child rises. If it rises, follow up with the second rescue breath. If the chest does not rise, you will have to use the head-tilt, chin-lift technique again and then give second breath.
- After the two rescue breaths, start the next cycle of CPR with compressions. If two people are performing CPR, give 15 compressions and then two breaths.
- Once you get access to an AED, apply it. If the child is at least 8 years old, use pediatric pads in case they are available. You can use adult if pediatric pads are not available. Administer one shock before resuming CPR for two minutes and then administer a second shock. If you don’t know how to use an AED, call an emergency medical operator and ask them how to use it. They might be able to help you in the use of an AED.
- Continue until you see signs of movement or help arrives.
Performing CPR on a Baby at Least 4 Weeks Old
Cardiac arrests in infants generally occur from lack of oxygen resulting from choking or drowning. If something is obstructing the airway of the baby, performing first aid for choking would help. If you don’t have any idea why the baby is not breathing, perform CPR.
Examine the situation and stroke the baby. Watch for their response – like movement – but don’t try to shake the baby. If there isn’t any response, perform CPR. Here’s how you should move forward:
- If you are the only rescuer and you did not see the baby collapse, then perform five cycles of CPR before calling 911 and getting the AED.
- If you saw the baby collapse, call 911 and get the AED before starting CPR
- If another person is there to help, ask them to call 911 and get the AED while you perform CPR
Compressions – Restoring Blood Circulation
- On a flat surface, place the baby on their back
- chest On the center of the baby’s chest, place two fingers
- Compress the chest gently about 1.5”
- Could aloud, pumping in a rapid rhythm. Pump at the rate of 100-120 compressions a minute
Airway – Opening the Airway
Once you have completed 30 compressions, tip the head of the baby backwards by lifting their chin with one hand and pushing down on their forehead with your other hand.
Breathing – Breathe for Baby
- Cover the mouth and nose of the baby with your mouth
- Prepare to provide the child with two rescue breaths. Deliver puffs of air using the strength of your cheeks to slow breathe into the mouth one time. Take one second for the first breath and see if the chest of the baby rises. Give a second breath if their chest rises. If the chest doesn’t rise, use the head-tilt, chin-lift technique again and give second breath
- Continue chest compression if you don’t see the chest of the baby rising
- Perform 30 chest compressions and give two breaths. If CPR is being conducted by two people, give two breaths after every 15 compressions
- Continue until you notice signs of life or paramedics arrive
Finding CPR Classes
CPR training programs are available at nearly all hospitals, fire departments, community colleges, ambulance services, and community health centers. However, just because these institutions are offering CPR class doesn’t mean that all CPR training programs are the same. In most states, CPR classes aren’t accredited by a single agency or institution. As such, any individual or commercial organization can provide CPR training to people and issue a certificate saying that they are fully accredited. The problem is that most employers who require CPR training will accept accreditation from classes that are sanctioned by the American Heart Association, National Safety Council or American Red Cross.
CPR can save a person’s life. If you don’t know how to perform CPR, we recommend you take a class and learn how to do it properly. You might be able to save a family member or friend’s life if you know how to perform CPR. The information provided above should give you some idea about CPR, but training is very important to get it right. Even the most basic class will have a CPR dummy that allows you to perform chest compressions. Practicing on the dummy will help you hone your skills and you would be able to perform CPR when an actual individual is in trouble and needs your help.
We hope you understand everything discussed above. In case you have any question, feel free to reach out to us.