CPR Ratio for Adults, Children, and Infants

The CPR Ratio refers to the specific sequence of chest compressions and rescue breaths administered during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It guides responders on the number of chest compressions to perform and how many rescue breaths to give to an individual experiencing cardiac arrest or a sudden cessation of breathing.

Adults and Child CPR Ratio: CPR ratio for adults and older children is 30:2 for a single rescuer. You must perform 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths and maintain a steady rhythm.

Infant CPR Ratio: The CPR ratio is 30:2 for a single rescuer, the same as the ratio for adult/child.

If there are two rescuers, the CPR ratio for the child and infant will be 15:2. You need to perform 15 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths.

 

a table showing the cpr ratio for adult, child, and infant

CPR Ratios for Adults

High-quality CPR has critical steps to follow, and there are certain metrics by the American Heart Association that must be followed to improve the survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. This includes providing chest compressions at the proper rate and depth. Here is the CPR ratio that you must remember when performing CPR for an average adult.

Compression to Ventilation Ratio

Compression to Ventilation Ratio refers to the number of external chest compression given, followed by the number of ventilation breaths given while performing CPR. According to the American Heart Association, the correct compression to ventilation ratio for adults is 30:2. It means to provide 30 chest compressions after 2 rescue breaths and maintain a steady rhythm. If there is another lay rescuer, the same method must be followed, except that each person can take turns performing the ventilation breaths and the compressions without pausing either.

American Heart Association guidelines also indicate that in patients with an advanced airway, one ventilation breath every six seconds should be given without interruptions in chest compression.

Rate of Compressions

For adults, the CPR compression rate is 100-120 compressions per minute. Chest compression rate refers to the speed or rate of chest compression per minute during CPR. For example, a cardiac compression rate of 100 per minute means you can give 100 compressions in 1 minute if there's no need for you to stop to provide ventilation. Usually, a lone rescuer performing 100/1 continuous compression will perform about 75 external chest compression per minute due to the need for ventilation breathing. You will only do chest compressions without stopping until emergency medical personnel takes over if the victim is intubated. In addition, you should minimize any interruptions to achieve a chest compression fraction of 60.

Depth of Compressions

The compression depth for adults is at least 2- 2.4 inches deep or 5 to 6 cm, with a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. Compression depth is how far down the victim's chest is compressed with each chest compression. It's also important to allow complete chest recoil between each compression.

Rescue Breathing

Rescue breathing is the number of ventilation breaths that are given each minute. The ventilation rate for adults should be 10-12 breaths per minute. Each rescue breath should be given over 1 second with a sufficient tidal volume to produce chest rise. This is for victims who still have a pulse but don't have normal breathing. The certified lay rescuers can supply enough oxygen to preserve life by rescue breathing into the victim's lungs. It's important to act quickly because brain damage can occur after only 3 minutes without oxygen. Avoid excessive ventilation.

In a previous study of adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, continuous chest compressions without rescue breathing did not result in significantly higher rates of survival than 30 compressions to 2 ventilations.

If an Automated External Defibrillator or AED is available, alternate 3-4 shocks with a minute of CPR. CPR should be continued until the emergency response is available or you see the patient's normal breathing or any signs of life.

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CPR Ratios for Children

Adults usually require CPR due to sudden cardiac arrest resulting from a heart attack, while children tend to require CPR due to respiratory issue that leads to cardiac arrest. It's essential that you know the proper CPR procedure, CPR child hand placement, and CPR ratio for children to be prepared when an emergency occurs.

Compression to Ventilation Ratio

According to the American Heart Association guidelines, the child compression to ventilation ratio for a single rescuer is 30:2, which is the same for adults. This means that single rescuers need to perform 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. If there are two rescuers, the ratio of compressions will be 15:2.

If you are an untrained bystander, you should perform hands-only CPR or chest compressions only without rescue breathing until the emergency response is available to take over. 

Rate of Compressions

The recommended number of compressions per minute for children is at least 100 to 120 beats per minute. After 30 compressions, tilt the head, lift the chin, and give two effective breaths. Although the rate of compressions will be 100-120 a minute, the actual number delivered will be fewer because of the pauses to give breaths.

Depth of Compressions

According to the American Heart Association guidelines, the depth of compression ratio for children is at least one-third of the diameter of the chest, which is about 2 inches or 5cm, with a compression rate of 100-120 per minute.

Rescue Breathing

The ventilation rate for a child that isn't breathing is 12 to 20 rescue breaths per minute. This is about one rescue breath every 3 to 5 seconds.

To do rescue breathing for a child, put one hand on the forehead, and push with your palm to tilt the head back. Then, take a normal breath, and blow it to the mouth of the child for 1 second. Watch to see if the child's chest rises.

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CPR Ratios for Infants

CPR is performed when an infant is unconscious, they're unresponsive, or if they're not breathing. CPR will keep the oxygenated blood moving through the infant's body with proper chest compressions and rescue breathing until advanced life support is available. If you are a parent, baby sitter of childcare provider, you can enroll in an Infant CPR Course to gain a better understanding about infant CPR.

Compression to Ventilation Ratio

The compression to ventilation ratio for an infant is the same as the ratio for adults and children, which is 30:2 for single rescuer. This means you need to perform 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths for infants. If there are two rescuers, the ratio of compressions will be 15:2.

According to the American Heart Association and ILCOR, it is permitted to perform “hands-only” CPR on adults and older children. But for infants, it’s recommended to weave in the two breaths every 30 compressions.

Rate of Compressions

The technique for performing chest compressions on infants differs from that for adults or children, but the compression rate is still the same. Because an infant is more fragile, the external chest compression should be performed with only two fingers, at the center of the chest, just below the nipples. The rate of chest compressions for infants is approximately 100 to 120 compressions per minute. This means the rescuer should perform chest compressions at a rate of about 100 to 120 compressions in a one-minute cycle. Allow the chest to return to its normal position after each compression.

Depth of Compressions

When performing chest compressions on infants, the rescuer should compress the chest to a depth of about 1.5 inches (4 cm). It is essential to avoid compressing too deeply, as an infant's chest is more delicate compared to an adult's. Do not compress over the xiphoid or ribs.

Rescue Breathing

The ventilation rate for infants during CPR is approximately 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds, which translates to about 12 to 20 breaths per minute. Each rescue breath should be delivered gently enough to see the infant's chest rise visibly. Avoid excessive ventilation.

CPR Ratio for Special Circumstances

The proper CPR ratio may vary for certain circumstances, such as pregnant individuals, the elderly, and patients with specific medical or physical conditions. It is essential to recognize these differences to provide effective and appropriate care during out of hospital cardiac arrest and in hospital cardiac emergencies. However, it's important to note that the guidelines can change over time, so always refer to the most current recommendations from reputable organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) or the American Red Cross.

 

Pregnant Individuals

For pregnant individuals experiencing out of hospital cardiac arrest, the main focus is still on providing high-quality CPR with a focus on chest compressions. The standard compression-to-ventilation ratio of 30:2 is generally recommended, similar to adult CPR. However, when performing chest compressions, rescuers should slightly modify hand placement to avoid putting excessive pressure on the abdomen, especially as the pregnancy progresses. It is essential to prioritize the safety of both the pregnant individual and the fetus while providing life-saving CPR.

 

Elderly Patients

For elderly patients, the overall approach to CPR remains the same as for adults. The compression-to-ventilation ratio of 30:2 is generally used, with the aim of delivering high-quality chest compressions and rescue breaths. Rescuers should consider the frailty and potential underlying health conditions of the elderly patient, which may affect the force applied during chest compressions.

 

Patients with Medical or Physical Conditions

For patients with specific medical or physical conditions, the general CPR guidelines still apply, emphasizing the importance of early recognition, activation of emergency services, and high-quality chest compressions. Some medical conditions or physical limitations may make it challenging to perform rescue breaths effectively. In such cases, if the rescuer is not trained or uncomfortable with rescue breaths, hands-only CPR (chest compressions only) can be an alternative. Hands-only CPR can still be effective in maintaining blood flow and oxygenation for a short period until professional help arrives.

 

Understanding CPR Ratio

The CPR Ratio refers to the specific sequence of chest compressions and rescue breaths administered during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It guides responders on the number of chest compressions to perform and how many rescue breaths to give to an individual experiencing cardiac arrest or a sudden cessation of breathing.

Different age groups require a different set standard for CPR ratios. For example, the compression ratio for a man with a round and larger chest may require a strong push, while for the elderly, pushing hard, fast, and deep may cause ribs to break. The compression ratio for an infant is also different because it requires less effort.

During CPR, the primary goal is to keep the blood flowing and maintain oxygen circulation to vital organs, especially the brain. The CPR Ratio plays a critical role in achieving this objective. If the CPR Ratio is not used correctly, it can lead to inadequate blood flow and insufficient oxygen supply to the brain, which can have severe consequences for the person in distress.

 

Why is the CPR ratio important in performing effective CPR?

The CPR ratio is important in performing effective CPR because it ensures adequate blood flow and oxygenation to the body's vital organs, especially the brain. When performing chest compressions, blood is pumped out of the heart and circulated throughout the body, providing oxygen to organs and tissues. Meanwhile, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation provides additional oxygen to the lungs, which helps maintain proper gas exchange.

 

The CPR Ratio serves three critical purposes that can significantly impact the outcome of a cardiac emergency:

  • Performing chest compressions in the correct ratio helps maintain blood circulation throughout the body, especially to the brain and other vital organs.
  • The CPR Ratio includes rescue breaths, which deliver vital oxygen to the lungs and subsequently to the bloodstream. Oxygen is essential for the survival of organs, particularly the brain, which is highly sensitive to oxygen deprivation.
  • By using the appropriate CPR Ratio, responders can optimize blood circulation and oxygen delivery, significantly increasing the likelihood of restoring normal breathing and heart rate.

Understanding the CPR Ratio is crucial for effective CPR, as it ensures the patient receives the right balance of chest compressions and rescue breaths. If the CPR ratio is not maintained correctly, it can lead to inadequate blood flow and oxygenation, which can cause brain damage or even death.

According to the study of data from the National Institutes of Health clinical trials network database, a combination of 107 compressions per minute and a compression depth of 4.7 cm might be the ideal target for rate and depth of chest compressions during CPR. The research also indicates that the use of an adjunct during CPR could lead to significantly improved outcomes when this target is adhered to.

 

How does the CPR ratio affect blood flow and oxygenation during CPR?

The CPR ratio plays a significant role in maintaining proper blood flow and oxygenation during CPR. Compressions serve as a substitute for the heart's pumping action, allowing blood to circulate throughout the body. The compression rate should be fast enough to create sufficient pressure to pump blood but not too fast that it doesn't allow enough time for the heart to refill between compressions.

Meanwhile, ventilations provide additional oxygen to the lungs, which is then circulated throughout the body. The rate of ventilation should be appropriate for each age group and should not cause excessive air to enter the stomach instead of the lungs.

By following the correct CPR ratio, blood flow, and oxygenation are maintained at optimal levels during CPR, increasing the chances of survival and recovery.

 

What can happen if the CPR ratio is incorrect during CPR?

If the CPR ratio is incorrect during CPR, it can lead to inadequate blood flow and oxygenation, which can cause serious complications or even death. If compressions are not performed correctly, blood cannot circulate properly, leading to organ damage and brain injury. Likewise, improper ventilation can cause air to enter the stomach instead of the lungs, leading to gastric distention and possible vomiting, which can further compromise breathing.

In addition, incorrect CPR ratios can cause physical trauma, such as broken ribs or punctured lungs. This is especially true for older adults with weaker bones or infants whose delicate bodies require gentler handling.

Why is it important to give rescue breaths during CPR?

Giving rescue breaths during CPR is crucial for maintaining adequate oxygenation and circulation. When a person's heart stops beating, their body no longer receives oxygen-rich blood, which can lead to brain damage or death within minutes. Chest compressions alone may not be enough to provide the necessary oxygen to the body.

Rescue breaths help provide additional oxygen to the lungs, which chest compressions distribute throughout the body. This helps maintain proper oxygenation and prevents brain damage or other complications that can occur due to lack of oxygen.

In addition, rescue breaths also help remove carbon dioxide from the body, which can build up and lead to acidosis if not eliminated. Acidosis can cause further harm to the body and impair its ability to function properly.

How is CPR performed differently when an advanced airway is in place?

When an advanced airway, such as an endotracheal tube or supraglottic airway, is in place during CPR, the technique for delivering chest compressions and rescue breaths may be modified to optimize resuscitation efforts. The presence of an advanced airway allows for more effective ventilation and oxygenation, and it changes the way CPR is performed as follows:

 

Chest Compressions

  • When an advanced airway is in place, chest compressions can be delivered continuously without the need for pauses to provide rescue breaths. This technique is often referred to as "continuous chest compressions."
  • The rescuer can focus solely on delivering high-quality chest compressions at the recommended rate (100 to 120 compressions per minute) and depth (approximately 2 inches or 5 centimeters for adults).

 

Rescue Breaths

  • With an advanced airway in place, the rescuer does not need to provide mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. Instead, the use of a bag-mask device or mechanical ventilator is preferred to deliver ventilation.
  • For intubated patients, a bag-mask device can be connected directly to the endotracheal tube, and for those with supraglottic airways, the device is connected to the airway device.
  • The rescuer delivers ventilations at a rate of approximately 1 breath every 6 to 8 seconds, ensuring adequate oxygenation.

 

Is CPR Ratio different in other countries?

The principles of CPR are generally consistent worldwide, but specific guidelines, including the recommended CPR ratios, may vary slightly between countries and international organizations. The variations are often based on the latest scientific research, regional practices, and the availability of resources and medical expertise.

The core components of CPR, such as chest compressions and rescue breaths, remain constant regardless of the country. However, differences may arise in the compression-to-ventilation ratio, the recommended depth and rate of compressions, and the use of specific devices or techniques.

 

How can rescuers maintain the appropriate CPR ratio during CPR?

To maintain the appropriate CPR ratio during CPR, rescuers should follow the guidelines set by the American Heart Association (AHA) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC). These guidelines provide clear instructions on the correct compression rate, ventilation rate, and ratio for each age group.

Rescuers should also receive proper training in performing CPR to ensure that they can perform it correctly. They should attend courses and receive certification from recognized organizations such as the AHA or ECC.

It is also important for rescuers to regularly refresh their knowledge and skills through refresher courses or practice sessions. This helps ensure that they are up-to-date with any changes in guidelines or techniques and can perform CPR effectively in an emergency situation.

In addition, using tools such as feedback devices or metronomes can help maintain the correct compression rate during CPR. These devices provide auditory or visual cues to indicate compressions' proper timing and force, helping rescuers maintain the appropriate ratio.

 

How can proper CPR training help individuals understand the correct CPR ratio?

Proper CPR training can help individuals understand the correct CPR ratio by providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform CPR effectively. During CPR training, individuals learn about the importance of maintaining the appropriate compression rate, ventilation rate, and ratio for each age group. They also learn how to perform proper chest compressions and rescue breaths, as well as how to use tools such as feedback devices or metronomes to maintain the correct compression rate.

Learn CPR and Save a Life Today

Just as the CPR Ratio is important, so too is obtaining a CPR Certification, which ensures individuals are prepared to perform CPR in an emergency. According to statistical analysis, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest affects nearly 1000 Americans each day; when including in-hospital cardiac arrest, more than 500,000 adults suffer cardiac arrest each year in the United States. For out-of-hospital cardiac emergencies, it's important for first aiders to do CPR as soon as possible to increase the chance of survival while waiting for the emergency medical services team.

Basic and Advanced Life Support providers performing successful resuscitation contribute to the survival rates from hospital cardiac arrest. If most people knew how to perform CPR and use an AED, we could decrease the number of deaths from out-of-hospital cardiac emergencies. At CPR Select, we want to help save lives by teaching you CPR and basic life support skills based on American Heart Association guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. You can save a life by learning how to do rescue breathing or CPR quickly and easily through one of our online classes.

With CPR Certification, you will be equipped to provide effective CPR using the correct CPR Ratio, which can increase a patient's chance of survival. Our CPR Certification course is divided into several modules, each focusing on a different aspect of CPR, including the CPR Ratio. The CPR Certification test will assess your understanding of the CPR Ratio and your ability to apply it in practice.

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