CPR Techniques That Can Save Lives: Explained Step By Step
CPR Techniques That Can Save Lives: Explained Step By Step
by admin | September 03, 2022 | CPR | 2 comments

CPR Techniques That Can Save Lives: Explained Step By Step

If there is one skill in life that is absolutely critical to learn, it is CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). It’s the technique you use to save the life of someone in the crucial moments just after they’ve had a cardiac arrest (heart attack) or a respiratory arrest (lung failure).

Life hovers close to death in the minutes that immediately follow these heart and lung stoppages. Anyone nearby, whether trained in CPR or not, has to have the minimum basic knowledge to do what’s needed to save the fallen human’s life in such a touch-and-go situation.

Of course, getting formally trained and certified in CPR is always better because your rescue actions will be not only confident but also perfect. But in the absence of formal training, it’s still better to know what must be done and get going with your basic knowledge.

Read through this article, and get the familiarity you need to be able to help someone hanging between life and death after a cardiac or pulmonary arrest. But promise yourself to get formally trained as soon as you can find the time. There are excellent online courses and certifications you can take.


Steps to take before you begin CPR on a needy patient

There are a few steps to urgently take before you decide whether someone who has collapsed needs CPR or not. According to an article by the staff of Mayo Clinic you must follow these processes one after the other.

    1. Make sure the fallen person is moved to a safe environment. Move the patient away from traffic and crowds, and see that there is shade and enough air circulation.
    2. See if the person is conscious or unconscious. See if the person is breathing. If the person seems to have stopped breathing, go to the next step.
    3. Use the “tap-shout-tap” method that the Red Cross recommends. Tap the person’s shoulder, shout, “Are you okay?” and tap again. If there’s still no response, don’t keep on trying. Go on to the next step.
    4. Look for a beating pulse in the person’s wrist or neck. If there’s no pulse, do not wait longer than 10 seconds. Get someone nearby to call an ambulance IMMEDIATELY.
    5. And then ready yourself to begin CPR without delay.

Remember to call an ambulance before CPR because you can’t know how long you have to do CPR to get the person’s stopped heart or lungs to revive. You must do what you can to beckon professional medical help as fast as possible before you begin CPR.


The chest compression technique and its nuances

According to the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines, here’s how compressions are begun and given.

    1. Position yourself to the patient’s side, and kneel on the ground.
    2. Place the heel (lower part) of one hand’s palm on the patient’s chest, between the nipples.
    3. Place your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders above your hands to apply maximum pressure.
    4. Using your hands and body weight, pump down on the patient’s chest to a depth of about 2 inches, and then release until the chest bounces back to normal position. Compress again and let go. This is the compression technique.
    5. With every compress, you imitate how the heart pumps blood. You must aim to do at least 100 to 120 compressions a minute without letting up.
    6. Experts suggest that you mentally pump to the rhythm of the famous song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. The song’s beat will give you the correct timing of compresses.
    7. Even as you continue with the compresses unabated, look for signs of the patient’s revival or keep going.

If the patient has a stopped heart (cardiac arrest), the above process of compressing alone would do. But if the patient has also stopped breathing (indicating respiratory arrest), you need a slight variation of the technique above. This is what we will explain next.


When rescue breathing is needed and how to perform it

To get the patient to breathe again (even as you are getting the patient’s heart to beat again with compressions), you need to stop after every 30 compressions and do the rescue-breathing process.

A medically reviewed article in VeryWellHealth.com by Rod Brouhard, explains this process in good detail.

    1. First, move the patient’s head and chin to a position where you can best breathe into the patient’s lungs through the patient’s mouth. The “head-tilt, chin-lift” process (explained below) opens the person’s airway.
    2. Put your palm on the person’s forehead and gently tilt the head back. Then with your other hand, lift the person’s chin forward and up. This opens up the person’s airway. By raising the chin, you free the airway between the chin and the throat.
    3. Close the patient’s nostrils by pinching with your fingers, and put your mouth over the patient’s mouth.
    4. Breath out deep to fill the patient’s lungs with air from your lungs. Breathe for at least a second, and after the first breath, wait to see if the patient’s chest rises, then do a second breath.

Remember, this is not about stopping the chest compressions and doing only the rescue breathing. You have to follow the whole procedure in a sequence … 30 chest compressions, followed by the head-tilt/chin-lift, and two rescue breaths … then again 30 chest compressions, followed by the head-tilt/chin-lift, and two rescue breaths … and so on.

Check if either the heart revives or the breathing revives. If there is no response, continue till help arrives. Don’t let up.

Medical News Today, in an article by Amanda Barrell, states there is just an 8-minute window to save a patient’s life after a cardiac or pulmonary arrest. If oxygenated blood does not reach the brain in 8 minutes, it can cause irreparable damage and death.


Is rescue breathing safe for the patient and the rescue-giver?

There are a couple of questions people usually ask about rescue breathing. Here are their answers:


1. During rescue breathing, are you not pushing carbon dioxide (instead of oxygen) into the patient’s lungs if you are breathing out?

In their book titled “Basic Life Support Providers’ Manual” (Medical Creations, 2021), the authors M. Mastenbjörk M.D. and S. Meloni M.D. agree that rescue breathing does use your exhaled air. This air primarily consists of carbon dioxide, for sure. Nevertheless, it also contains all the oxygen your body did not use.

This unused oxygen can constitute nearly 17% of the exhaled air. This much oxygen, the authors state, is at least enough to keep life going in the patient until professional help takes over.


2. Is it safe to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at a time like now, when we still have the prevalence of Covid-19?

According to a press release by the American Heart Association (AHA), their guidelines for persons giving CPR changed after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new guidelines advise healthcare workers to mandatorily wear an N95 mask, along with other personal protective equipment (PPE) like a gown, gloves, and eye protection, when performing CPR on people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19. They must also perform rescue breathing using a bag-mask device with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

Members of the public also should wear at least a well-fitting mask when doing CPR and use the compression technique alone. Avoid rescue breathing.


In summary …

It’s time for all of us, whichever walk of life we come from, to learn what’s needed to help anyone in a life-and-death situation. Here’s our clarion call you too can follow: “Be a Zinda Dil. Learn CPR. Save Lives.”




    1. Mayo Clinic. “Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): First aid.” Accessed August 14, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-cpr/basics/art-20056600
    2. American Red Cross Training Services. “CPR Steps.” Accessed August 14, 2022. https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/cpr-steps
    3. American Heart Association CPR & First Aid Emergency Cardiovascular Care. “Hands-Only CPR Resources.” Accessed August 14, 2022. https://cpr.heart.org/en/cpr-courses-and-kits/hands-only-cpr/hands-only-cpr-resources
    4. Brouhard, Rod. Very Well Health. “How to Perform Rescue Breathing.” Accessed August 14, 2022. https://www.verywellhealth.com/rescue-breathing-steps-1298448
    5. Barrell, Amanda. Medical News Today. “CPR steps: A visual guide.” Accessed August 14, 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324712
    6. Mastenbjörk, Martin and Meloni, Sabrina. Basic Life Support Providers Manual. (Las Vegas: Medical Creations, 2021), Kindle.
    7. American Heart Association Newsroom. “New CPR guidance addresses more contagious COVID-19 variants amidst evolving pandemic.” Accessed August 14, 2022. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/new-cpr-guidance-addresses-more-contagious-covid-19-variants-amidst-evolving-pandemic


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