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Mouth-to-mouth: Rescue breathing, breaths per minute, rate, airway management, oxygen

Mouth-to-mouth: Rescue breathing, breaths per minute, rate, airway management, oxygen

Mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing is a critical component of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It involves delivering breaths to a person who has stopped breathing to provide oxygen to their lungs and help them regain consciousness. The goal of mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing is to restore oxygenation and circulation, which can be achieved by providing breaths at the correct rate and volume.


  • The recommended rate for mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing is 10–12 breaths per minute. This rate should be adjusted depending on the patient's age; infants require more frequent breaths than adults. Additionally, each breath should be delivered with enough force to make the chest rise visibly but not so much that it causes discomfort or pain.
  • Airway management is also important when performing mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. The airway must be kept open for oxygen to reach the lungs, so it is important to ensure that there are no obstructions, such as vomit or foreign objects blocking the airway. If necessary, head tilt/chin lift or jaw thrust techniques can be used to open up the airway and allow for easier delivery of breaths.
  • Oxygenation is essential to mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing; without sufficient oxygenation, the patient will not recover from cardiac arrest. To ensure adequate oxygenation, it is important to deliver each breath slowly and deeply enough to fill up the lungs completely before exhaling again. Additionally, supplemental oxygen may be provided if available to increase oxygen saturation levels in the blood and improve outcomes for patients in cardiac arrest.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the limit when giving rescue breath to an infant?

When giving a rescue breath to an infant, ensure that each breath should be delivered for over 1 second only. The volume of each breath should be sufficient to see the chest wall rise. The correct ventilation rate for infants with a pulse but not breathing is 1 breath every 6 seconds.

When giving rescue breaths, does the unconscious person have to open their mouth when we have to breathe?

During rescue breathing, the unconscious person has to open their mouth to ensure that the air you breathe will reach the lungs. You will see the chest rise if the rescue breathing is effective. If not, you need to open the airway again using a head tilt/chin lift and give another rescue breath.

When giving rescue breaths, do I need to close the whole nose when giving breath to the victim's mouth?

Yes, you need to close the entire nose and make a proper seal with your mouth when giving rescue breath to the adult victim. This is to prevent the flow of air you provide from escaping.


  • American Heart Association (2020). Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Retrieved from
  • National Health Service (2020). Mouth To Mouth Resuscitation (CPR). Retrieved from supportprocedures/mouthtomouthresuscitationcpr
  • American Red Cross (2020). CPR: Rescue Breathing. Retrieved from