Cardiac Arrest


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves a combination of mouth-to-mouth (or with a barrier device), rescue breathing and chest compression, where the provider essentially takes over the respiratory and circulatory components of the body. CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until appropriate medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm.

Before starting CPR, assess the situation:
  • Is the area around the victim safe for you to enter?
  • Is the person conscious or unconscious?
  • If the person appears unconscious, tap or shake his or her shoulder and ask loudly, "Are you OK?"
  • If the person doesn't respond, get help by dialing 911.  If someone else is available, have him or her call 911 for you.


To perform CPR:
  1. Position the person so you can check for signs of life by laying the person flat on their back on a firm surface.
  2. If there is no possibility of neck or back injury, open the person's mouth and airway by tilting the head back with one hand and lifting the chin upward with two fingers of the other hand.
  3. Determine whether the person is breathing by simultaneously looking at the chest for rise and fall, listening and feeling for any air coming from the victim’s mouth or nose.
  4. If the person is not breathing, pinch his or her nostrils closed, make a seal around the mouth and breathe into his or her mouth twice, using slow breaths lasting about 1 ˝ to 2 seconds each.
  5. Determine if there are signs of circulation by looking for coughing or movement of the chest or feeling for a carotid pulse on the neck if trained to do so. If there are no signs of circulation, expose the chest by removing any clothing.  With one hand place it on the center of chest with the middle of your hand between the nipples of the victim.  Place your other hand over the first and interlock your fingers under the bottom hand.  This will place your hands over the lower half of the breastbone.  Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands.

Push down 1 1/2 to 2 inches at a rate of 100 times a minute. The compression and relaxation phases should be equal in effort with 50% down and 50% up.  Don't jab downward on the chest with your compression. After 15 compressions, breathe into the person's mouth twice.

After every four cycles of 15 compressions and two breaths, recheck for signs of circulation. Continue CPR and check every few minutes thereafter or until EMS or an AED machine arrives.



















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