Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a series of steps to help a person who is not responding and has stopped breathing. CPR helps deliver oxygen rich blood to the body tissue when the body is not able to do this on its own.
CPR is given to a person who is not responding and has stopped breathing. Reasons for this may include:
The outcome will depend on the initial cause and how soon effective CPR was started. Many victims are unable to regain a normal heartbeat after it has stopped.
The goal of the CPR is to provide blood flow to a victim’s heart, brain, and other vital organs until proper medical care can be given. The victim is likely to die if CPR is not started immediately. Complications may include
fracture of the ribs, broken teeth, infections, and puncture of the lung.
People with weakened bones have a higher risk of bone fractures from CPR. However, there is a greater risk of death if CPR is delayed or not done correctly.
When you see someone collapse or find someone unconscious, immediately check to see if the person is responsive. Tap the victim and ask: “Are you OK?” If the victim is unresponsive, follow these steps.
The length of time for CPR depends on the causes and response time of the emergency medical team.
The patient is unconscious when CPR is given. The procedure does not hurt. Some patients may complain of soreness in the chest after they are conscious.
The patient should be taken to the hospital. He should go even if he has recovered. Emergency personnel will take over care when they arrive.
If a teen or adult is unresponsive, call for medical help right away. If someone is with you, have that person call for medical help right away while you begin CPR.
American Heart Association
American Red Cross
Public Health Agency of Canada
American Heart Association. 2010 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care science: part 1 executive summary. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/122/18_suppl_3/S640. Published October 2010. Accessed November 20, 2012.
American Heart Association. 2010 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care science: part 5 adult basic life support. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/122/18_suppl_3/S685.full?sid=d85d05e7-f8b8-4d44-9137-8cd47f557f9c. Published 2010. Accessed November 20, 2012.
American Heart Association.
Heartsaver First Aid with CPR and AED. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association; 2006
Bardy GH. A critic's assessment of our approach to cardiac arrest.
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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
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http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/1001/p1564.html. Accessed November 20, 2012.
Neumar RW, Nolan JP, et al. Post-cardiac arrest syndrome: epidemiology, pathophysiology, treatment, and prognostication. A consensus statement from the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation.
Circulation. 2008 Dec 2;118(23):2452-83. Epub 2008 Oct 23. No abstract available.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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