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Emergency: How to do CPR on an adult!

By Medical Expert Team

Nov 08 , 2020 | 2 min read

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Knowing how to perform CPR on an adult could save a life.

Before starting CPR, check:

  • Is the environment safe for the person?
  • 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 and two people are available, one person should call the local emergency number and the other one should begin CPR.
  • If you are alone and have immediate access to a telephone, call the emergency number before beginning CPR.

Basic Life Support Sequence

Step Lay Rescuer Not Trained Lay Rescuer Trained
1 Ensure Scene Safety Ensure scene safety

Check for response

Check for response

3 Shout for nearby help. Phone or ask someone to phone the emergency (the phone or caller with the phone remains at the victim’s side, with the phone on speaker). Shout for nearby help and activate the emergency response system. If someone responds, ensure that the phone is at the side of the victim if at all possible.

Follow the dispatcher’s instructions.

Check for no breathing or only gasping; if none, begin CPR with compressions.

Look for no breathing or only gasping, at the direction of the dispatcher.

Answer the dispatcher’s questions, and follow the dispatcher’s instructions.
6 Follow the dispatcher’s instructions. Send the second person to retrieve an AED, if one is available.

*Source: American Heart Association

If the victim does not respond, continue with the following steps.

 Remember to spell C-A-B: Compressions – Airway – Breathing

 Compressions: Restore blood circulation

  • Put the person on his or her back on a firm surface
  • Kneel next to the person's neck and shoulders
  • Place the heel of one hand over the centre of the person's chest, between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands
  • Use your upper body weight (not just your arms) as you push straight down on (compress) the chest at least 2 inches (approximately 5 centimetres) but not greater than 2.4 inches (approximately 6 centimetres). Push hard at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute
  • Continue chest compressions heart attack is the prominent reason for cardiac arrest until there are signs of movement or the emergency medical personnel take over.

Airway: Clear the airway

  • Check for normal breathing, taking no more than five or 10 seconds. Look for chest motion, listen for normal breath sounds, and feel for the person's breath on your cheek and ear. Gasping is not considered to be normal breathing. 

Breathing: Breathe for the person

  • Rescue breathing can be mouth-to-mouth breathing or mouth-to-nose breathing if the mouth is seriously injured or can't be opened. If you believe the person is unconscious from a heart attack and you haven't been trained in emergency procedures, skip mouth-to-mouth breathing and continue chest compressions

Written and Verified by:

Medical Expert Team