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Circulation: Assessments, intervention, chest compressions, defibrillation, medication

Circulation: Assessments, intervention, chest compressions, defibrillation, medication

Circulation is the process of the heart pumping blood around the body. It is essential for life, and death can occur within minutes when it stops. To maintain circulation, healthcare providers must assess a patient’s condition, intervene if necessary, perform chest compressions, use defibrillation and administer medications as needed.

  • Assessment: The first step in maintaining circulation is assessing a patient’s condition. This includes taking vital signs such as pulse rate and blood pressure, checking for shock or cardiac arrest signs, and listening to the heart with a stethoscope. If there are any signs of distress or cardiac arrest, immediate intervention is required.
  • Intervention: If a patient has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped beating (cardiac arrest), then immediate intervention is required to restore circulation. This may include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which involves chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep oxygenated blood circulating through the body until medical help arrives.
  • Chest Compressions: Chest compressions are an important part of CPR that helps circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body. They involve pushing down on the chest at least 2 inches deep at a rate of 100-120 times per minute until medical help arrives or until an automated external defibrillator (AED) can be used to restart the heart.
  • Defibrillation: Defibrillation is an electrical shock that can be used to restart a person’s heart if they have gone into cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation (VF). An AED will analyze the patient’s rhythm and deliver an appropriate shock if needed to restore normal sinus rhythm and circulation.
  • Medication: Medications such as epinephrine may also be administered during CPR to increase blood pressure and improve circulation throughout the body. These medications should only be given under direct medical supervision as they can have serious side effects if not used correctly.


Maintaining circulation requires healthcare providers to assess a patient’s condition, intervene if necessary with CPR or other interventions, perform chest compressions at an appropriate rate and depth, use defibrillation when indicated, and administer medications as directed by medical personnel. By following these steps quickly and accurately, healthcare providers can help save lives by restoring circulation in patients who have gone into cardiac arrest or are experiencing other circulatory issues.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it recommendable to use one-hand compression on a child?

You can use one-hand compression when performing CPR on a child, depending on the child's size. One hand is enough for smaller children. However, if the child is older than 8 years old and has a big body, the recommended hand position for cpr is to use two hands when compressing the chest. CPR depth of compression should be about one-third the depth of the chest or 2 inches, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.

When performing CPR on an adult, is it always 30 chest compressions?

According to the American Heart Association guidelines, the recommended CPR ratio for adults is 30:2, regardless if there are 1 or 2 rescuers. This is because you must perform 30 chest compressions every two rescue breaths. In addition, the heart received better blood perfusion delivering oxygen because of the 30 compressions.

If the person who needs CPR is an adult woman, what part of the body should you do the chest compression?

The CPR steps for men are the same for women. Changes in CPR steps only applies when the victim is an adult, child, or infant because there are key differences between adult and child CPR. If the victim turns out to be an adult woman, create an imaginary line underneath the victim's nipple where the sternum would be located, then do the chest compression. Bodies work the same way regardless of breast or fat tissue on them.

Before performing CPR on an adult, do I need to check the pulse before starting chest compressions?

Yes. It's essential to check the pulse and breathing of the adult victim before doing CPR. If the victim has no pulse and not breathing, perform CPR starting with chest compressions, followed by 2 rescue breaths. However, if the victim is not breathing but has a pulse, give rescue breaths only.

Where do you push down when performing CPR on an infant?

When performing CPR on an infant, push down firmly on the sternum or breastbone using your two fingers. Compression depth for infants is at least 1/3 of the infant's chest, approximately 1½ inches, and the compression rate for infants is 100-120 compressions per minute.

Can chest compression be harmful to the infant's heart?

Chest compressions won't be harmful if you do the procedure correctly. However, compressing the infant's chest too deep and fast could cause rib fractures and damage the infant's heart. So it's important to follow the recommended compression rate for CPR.

Why do we use chest compression on the infant if we are unsure if the heart has stopped?


  • American Heart Association (2020). Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Retrieved from
  • National Institutes of Health (2020). Medications Used During Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Retrieved from