Five essential things you need to know before doing CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a first-aid procedure performed during life-threatening situations to maintain supply of oxygen to the brain. It is also performed to resuscitate a person who has stopped breathing.

When performed within the first six minutes of the heart stop, it can help preserve life until professional assistance arrives at the scene. 

Even though there is no substitute for typical CPR training, persons without CPR skills can perform the “hands-only” procedure.

This article outlines the step-by-step guide for performing the basic CPR procedure and the five essential things you need to know before doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Step by step CPR procedure

Performing a cardiopulmonary procedure involves two main stages: the preparation stage and the CPR stage.

The preparation stage.

Confirm safety and call 911.

The first thing to do if you encounter an emergency is to assess the scene for factors that can put you and the victim in danger. Ensure the site is clear of any obstructions like traffic, water, or falling stones.

After doing this, confirm the person’s responsiveness by tapping them and shouting their names while asking if they are okay. If there is no response, call 911 straightaway.

Place the victim in a recovery position and open their Airway.

Lay the person carefully on their back or recovery position. Kneel on the side of the victim and tilt their head slightly and lift the chin.

Open the victims’ mouth and check for any obstructions like foods, dentures, or foreign materials. Remove the loosely held obstacles to clear the airways.

Check for breathing.

With your ear placed on the victim’s chest, listen keenly for at least 10 seconds for any sound of breath. Begin CPR immediately if there is no breathing or occasional gasp.

CPR stage.

Perform chest compressions.

Place the heel of your hand on the left side of the victim’s chest and put the other hand on top. With your fingers clasped and elbows straight, push at least two inches deep at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to rise between every compression.

Perform two rescue breaths.

Before carrying out the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, ensure both the victim’s and your mouth are clean and free from wounds. Pinch the person’s nose, put your mouth over theirs, and blow your breath to initiate chest rise.

Re-tilt the victim’s head if the chest does not rise with the first breath and blow the second time. If it does not rise again, the person might be choking.

Repeat the procedure discussed above until the person starts breathing or a trained professional is on-site with an AED machine.

Doctors giving CPR to a woman lying on a bed in the emergency room.

Five essential things you should know before performing CPR.

Performing CPR immediately in an emergency can help revive the life and keep it safe until the trained professionals are on the ground. However, before giving CPR, these are things you need to know. 

1. You won’t necessarily restart the heart

The primary aim of CPR is not necessarily to revive the heart (sometimes you will), so don’t expect victims to recover suddenly. CPR aims to keep the supply of oxygen to the brain until AED or trained personnel is on the scene.

2. Anybody can use an AED

AED aims to give an electric shock to the heart, and the faster it is used, the higher chances of restarting the heart. It is easy to use since it checks the heart and initiates the shock only when needed. It also talks to you and directs you on the steps you should use once you turn it on.

3. CPR can be exhausting

Performing CPR over time can be physically draining, and you can find yourself tired. It is, therefore, essential to call for help when you encounter an emergency event. Having another person on the scene will allow you to switch turns when one person is tired.

4. Chest compressions are more recommended than mouth-to-mouth.

Though it used to be considered a central part of CPR, new guidelines dispute mouth to mouth when performing CPR.

This is because CPR aims to maintain oxygen supply to the brain, and taking breaks to blow air in the mouth reduces the pressure back to zero. Continued compressions, on the other hand, allows the brain to get enough blood and oxygen.

5. Anyone can learn CPR skills.

Despite many medical providers use CPR skills professionally, learning the skills is easy, and anyone can know it.

Having the basic CPR skills will make you more courageous and strong in emergency and ultimately preserve life until the paramedics are on the scene.


CPR is a life-saving first aid method performed to improve the victims’ chances of survival if they stop breathing or suffer a heart attack after a trauma or accident.

Though the steps may vary depending on whether the victim is an adult, child, or infant, the basic CPR compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation remain the same. Only start CPR if the victim has stopped breathing.

Remember that this article doesn’t replace medical advice and that you should always seek a health care professionals help in case of emergency.

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