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CPR, a Life Saving Procedure

Published on Sep 01, 2015 and last reviewed on May 10, 2023   -  4 min read


This article gives an idea of how to perform CPR and its importance in saving a life.

CPR, a Life Saving Procedure


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure performed to make available an artificial heart and lungs to a person desperately in need of them so that he or she may lose their life needing it. CPR comprises techniques designed to be carried out by a person without any healthcare background, as one never knows when one may be called upon to save a life.

When Can CPR Be Done?

Here is a list of a few situations where CPR can be done and it might be life-saving:

  • Drowning.

  • Shock.

  • Accidental injuries.

  • Heart conditions.

  • Lung diseases.

  • Choking.

The aim of CPR is to prevent irreversible damage to the brain as a result of the stoppage of blood-pumping action from the heart.

What Are the Steps of CPR?

CPR comprises three steps that can be memorized as CAB.

  • C stands for circulation (or chest compressions).

  • A stands for airway.

  • B stands for breathing.

How Is CPR Performed in Adults?

The following description is suitable for CPR performed on an adult.

  • First of all, make sure that the person receiving CPR is conscious. To check the status, shake the person (not recommended if choking is suspected, especially in children) and look for a response or ask a question.

  • If there is a response, proceed with CPR.

  • If there is no response, and consider you are not alone, then ask any companion to arrange for assistance from emergency services like the hospital, police, or fire services. If staying alone, then inform the emergency services first and proceed to CPR.

Chest Compressions:

  • Chest compressions work the same way as an artificial heart for a critical person.

  • To proceed with chest compressions, first of all, position the person on a flat surface, stand close to the side of the subject’s neck and bend down, and place one palm over the center of the person’s chest (the middle of the chest where one can feel a slightly depressed surface), keep the arms straight without bending at the elbows. Place the other hand on the top of the hand placed over the chest and interlock the fingers of both hands.

  • Then, push the chest downwards by at least 5 centimeters using own weight. Continue chest compressions at a rate of about 100 times per minute.

Clearing the Airway:

  • The second step is clearing the airway to allow for the exchange of air by the lungs.

  • Clear the airway after giving about 30 compressions. This is done by tilting the head of the person backward, followed by lowering the chin.

  • If the person has had a head injury, then the head should not be tilted back, and also, one should not force open the jaws to clear the airway.

  • Check whether the person is breathing by placing the fingers under the person’s nostrils and feeling for the movement of air or by noting breath sounds.

  • Please note that gasping is not considered to be normal breathing.

  • If the subject is not breathing, provide mouth-to-mouth breathing.

  • The breathing can be given either mouth-to-mouth or mouth to the nose (if the mouth cannot be opened due to injury or any other reason).

  • If one do not know the technique for mouth-to-mouth breathing, then this step may be skipped, while chest compressions should continue till help arrives.


  • Breathing is given in cycles wherein each cycle comprises 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths.

  • The first cycle should begin immediately after ensuring the patency of the airway.

  • For mouth-to-mouth breathing, pinch the nostrils (to prevent air from escaping), put lips on the lips of the person to seal the opening, and blow into the mouth of the subject.

  • Watch to see whether the chest rises or not. If the chest rises, give it another breath. If the chest does not rise, again ensure the patency of the airway; give a second breath followed by 30 chest compressions.

  • One should keep one hand on the chest when releasing the pressure of the palm (otherwise, one has to locate the right placement position every time with the compression of the chest).

  • Provide further chest compressions and breath cycles till at least five cycles have been given. It takes about two minutes to complete five cycles.

  • Continue the process until the person revives or until help arrives.

How Is CPR Done for Children of Age One to Eight Years?

The procedure for giving CPR to children aged one to eight years is the same as that for adults except for the following differences.

  • If one has no one to help, then first give five cycles of compressions and breaths and then inform emergency services.

  • Use a single hand for chest compressions.

How Is CPR Done for Babies Under One Year of Age?

  • First of all, ensure that the airway is not choked.

  • If it is choked, then give first aid for choking. Otherwise, proceed to CPR. All other steps of CPR are the same as for older children.

  • Flick the bottom of the feet and see whether there is a response.

  • Never shake a baby, as it may lead to further choking.

What Are the General Facts About CPR?

  • Anybody can give CPR. One can give chest compressions even if one is not trained in full CPR.

  • For a trained CPR provider - start with 30 chest compressions and also give rescue breathing.

  • For an untrained CPR provider - provide continuous chest compressions at a rate of about 100 per minute but without providing rescue breathing.

  • Feel for own chest bone, which is a slightly depressed flat surface in the center of the chest. That way, one will be better able to locate the same on the chest of another.


CPR is an emergency procedure done to save lives when the heart stops beating or if someone is not breathing properly. CPR helps circulate blood and oxygen in the body, thus keeping the brain and other vital organs alive. Doing CPR can sometimes be tiring, but it is necessary for everyone to be aware of doing CPR.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Different Kinds of CPR?

There are about three different types of CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) are:
- Adult CPR.
- Child CPR is also called pediatric resuscitation protocols, is given to infants less than one year of age and children up to puberty.
- Infant CPR is more complex than adult or child CPR. This is because the baby's bones are more flexible and more delicate.


What Can Be the Five Steps of CPR?

The five steps of CPR are:
- Check the patient's responsiveness.
- Check their breathing and pulse.
- Call 911.
- Administer chest compressions.
- Recheck breathing and pulse.


How To Perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation?

- CPR works by keeping a person's blood flowing until healthcare professionals can help them. People without first aid training can still save a life by using the CPR steps. Check for breathing. If they are not breathing, start with CPR.
- First, place the heel of your hand on the center of the person's chest, then place the other hand on top and press down by 5 to 6 cm (2 to 2.5 inches) at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute.
- Lay down the person on his or her back and open their airway.
- Perform 30 chest compressions.
- Perform two rescue breaths.
- Repeat this until an ambulance or automated external defibrillator (AED) arrives.


Can CPR Be Painful?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a helpful, lifesaving procedure in many emergency conditions, such as a heart attack or near drowning, in which someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. CPR is given if a person is unconscious, almost like the dead. Here we are simply trying to keep blood flowing until we can restart the heart with either medication or a shock. You will not feel any pain when you are unconscious.


What Can Be the CPR Ratio?

The term CPR ratio is the ratio between the chest compressions and the rescue breaths while performing a CPR. In other words, it is how many compressions a person should give for every breath to optimize the oxygenated blood, which is manually pushed through the cardiovascular system and eventually into the brain at the end.


How Do You Perform CPR on a Child?

1. You can perform CPR on a child with the head tilted back slightly, and the chin lifted. Pinch the child's nose shut, make a complete seal by putting your mouth over the child's mouth, and breathe into the child's mouth twice.
2.Push hard and push fast.
For children, CPR is performed by placing the heel of one hand on the center of the chest, and placing the heel of the other hand over the first hand, and then join your fingers together. Deliver at least 30 quick compressions that are each about 2 inches deep. For infants, use two fingers to deliver 30 quick compressions that are about 1.5 inches deep.
3. Give two rescue breaths.
4. Keep doing these baby or child CPR steps until you see any:
- Visible signs of life, like breathing.
- AED (automated external defibrillator) is ready to be used.
- Another trained responder like EMS (emergency medical service) professional is available to take over the situation.


When Should You Do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including a heart attack or near drowning, in which someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. You should perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation if a person is in the following state:
- Unconscious.
- No response.
- Breathing abnormally or not breathing.


What Are the Complications Associated With Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?

Complications of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) are:
- Vomiting and Aspiration: Aspirating fluid or vomit into the lungs is a common complication of CPR. There are a few reasons vomiting may occur during CPR. During compressions, it is not uncommon for the pressure applied to the chest to lead to vomiting.
- Fractured ribs.
- Liver contusions or laceration.
- Vomiting and aspiration.
- Bruising and tissue injury.


When Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Contraindicated?

- The absolute contraindication for CPR is a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order or other advanced directive showing a person's desire not to be resuscitated in the event of cardiac arrest.
- A relative contraindication to performing CPR is if a clinician prudently feels that the intervention would be medically ineffective.


When To Start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) To the Child Who Is Choking?

If a child is choking, you should perform the Heimlich maneuver technique. Depending on the age of the child, you should perform it in different ways. Never perform CPR on a person with a restricted airway as a first measure. First, recognize the choking sign like the child cannot breathe, cough, or make any sounds. Then, give thrusts slightly over the belly button until the object is forced out, or if the child can breathe or make sounds. But if the child stops responding, call for help, check for breathing and start performing CPR.


How Effective Is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is an effective emergency procedure that can save a life when the heart stops beating. But immediate CPR can double or triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest. In addition, CPR is about 10% to 15% effective in bringing people back. But that does not mean that the person will not have resulting damage. Compression-only CPR is also reported to be less effective in children than in adults because cardiac arrest in children is more likely to have a non-cardiac cause.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
10 May 2023  -  4 min read




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