How to Do CPR for Adults: Know the 4 Important Steps

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Over 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital setting every year. Considering they can do severe damage within a short time or even be fatal, this is an alarmingly high number. While you can’t stop cardiac arrests from happening, you can certainly be proactive and help mitigate the damage by performing CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. To learn about CPR, keep reading. We’ll give you a comprehensive guide on how to perform CPR for Adults.

What is CPR?

CPR is a lifesaving technique that aims to keep blood and oxygen flowing through the body when a person’s heart and breathing have stopped. The main goal of CPR is to keep the blood flow active until the emergency medical services team arrives. The steps of performing CPR are a bit different according to whether the victim is an adult, child, or infant.

When is CPR needed?

CPR is needed when a person is experiencing cardiac arrest, near-drowning incidents, suffocation, or any in which a person is not breathing. CPR can help prevent brain damage or death from occurring. According to the American Heart Association, CPR can double or triple the victim’s chance of survival.

Also Read- 5 Tips To Perform CPR On Adults

The importance of CPR for Adults

CPR helps keep rich oxygen blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until restored to normal heart rhythm. This is the main reason why investing your time in CPR training is highly beneficial. CPR performed within the first few minutes of the heart stopping can keep someone alive until the emergency medical services team arrives. The American Heart Association recently recommended that people who haven’t received CPR training initiate hands only CPR. This method removes the rescue breathing and is easy to perform, and is proven to save lives.

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How to perform CPR on Adults

1. Check the consciousness

Check the scene for safety, then ask the victim, “are you ok?” to check for consciousness. Try tapping on the shoulders to stimulate the victim. If the victim is not breathing and requires CPR, call 911 and continue with the sequence. If the victim is breathing normally, put him in the recovery position while waiting for the emergency medical services.

2. Place the victim on a firm, flat surface

Position the cardiac arrest victim lying flat on his back. Open or remove the victim’s shirt to provide access to the chest. Kneel next to the victim and position the hands on the victim’s chest.

  • The heel of one palm should be placed on the center of the chest, in line with the victim’s nipples. Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first and interlock fingers.
  • The fingers should point towards the victim’s nipples, with the long axis of the hand parallel to the ribs. This reduces the chance of rib fractures.
  • Compression is delivered with the heel of the palm. Fingers should not make contact with the chest during compression. Extending or curling the fingers may be necessary to achieve this position.
  • The rescuer should keep his elbows straight, shoulders over the hands, and lean over the victim. This creates a posture that allows hard and fast compression to be delivered.

3. Chest compressions

Begin with 30 chest compression at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to completely recoil between chest compression. Press on the center of the chest. It may be helpful to count the compression aloud as they are administered to keep track of progress.

  • For adult victims, the chest compression depth should be two inches.
  • For child victims, the chest compression should be 1/3 the chest diameter, or about two inches deep.

4. Give two rescue breaths or mouth to mouth breathing

Open the airway using the head-tilt/chin-lift technique to do rescue breathing. Make sure that each rescue breath lasts about 1 second and makes the chest rise. Allow the air to exit before giving the 2nd rescue breath. If the chest doesn’t rise, retilt the head and ensure a proper seal before giving the 2nd breath.

Continue giving sets of 30 chest compression at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute and two breaths until you see signs of life or when the normal breathing is restored. Use an AED as soon as one is available.

cpr rescue breathing

If the cardiac arrest victim’s chest does not rise during ventilations:

  • Check the head position to ensure the airway is open. It may be necessary to tilt the head father back.
  • Check for foreign material inside the mouth.
  • Ensure that the nostrils are completely closed and that there is a tight seal around the victim’s mouth.
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Alternative forms of respiration:

How to get certified in CPR?

During a cardiac emergency, untrained bystanders can only do hands only CPR or uninterrupted chest compressions on the victim. CPR Select provides you with a nationally and internationally accepted online CPR/AED First Aid certification program that strictly follows the American Heart Association guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. The training courses exist completely online, with no face-to-face requirements. All the materials are designed and approved by American Heart Association (AHA) trained doctors and taught by experienced instructors.

Also Read- Why Choose CPR Select for your Training?

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between Cardiac Arrest, Heart Attack, and Heart Failure?

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating. A heart attack is when the blood flow to the heart is blocked. Heart failure means the heart is not pumping as well as it should be. It could be considered a functional problem with the heart itself.

How effective is CPR outside of a hospital?

Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests most often occurs in homes/residences, followed by public settings and nursing home. If CPR is performed immediately, it can double or triple the chances of survival from an out of hospital cardiac arrest.

Can it be dangerous doing chest compressions?

Sometimes, people will have their ribs broken by chest compressions. However, this is still better than the alternative of not receiving CPR. If this occurs, pause and reposition your hands before continuing or getting someone else to take over.

Is it hard to get a CPR license?

Getting your CPR or Basic Life Support certification for healthcare providers online is not hard compared to getting it in a classroom setting. This is because online courses let you at your own pace via individual instruction.


Everybody should learn how to perform Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), almost 70% of Americans don’t know how to do CPR if somebody is experiencing a cardiac emergency or people follow the wrong techniques to perform CPR. According to a survey more than 75% of cardiac arrests occur at home where patients depend on the immediate respiratory care response of their family members. Thus, knowing the correct CPR process can help save the life of loved ones.