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Rate: Compressions, rescue breathing, breaths per minute, depth, ratio

Rate: Compressions, rescue breathing, breaths per minute, depth, ratio

The rate of chest compressions, rescue breathing, breaths per minute, depth, and ratio are all important factors when performing CPR according to the AHA guidelines.

  • Chest compressions: The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that chest compressions be performed at a rate of 100-120 per minute for adults and children over 8 years old. For infants under 1-year-old the rate should be at least 100-120 per minute. The depth of the compression should be at least 2 inches for adults and children over 8 years old and 1 ½ inch for infants under 1-year-old.
  • Rescue breathing: Rescue breathing is also an important part of CPR. The AHA recommends that rescue breaths be given at a rate of 10-12 breaths per minute for adults and children over 8 years old and 12-20 breaths per minute for infants under 1-year-old.
  • CPR ratio: The ratio between chest compressions to rescue breathing is 30:2 for adults and children over 8 years old. This means that 30 chest compressions should be followed by 2 rescue breaths.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to do the rescue breathing exactly on an unconscious adult victim?

If the victim has a pulse but not breathing, you need to open the airway by doing a head tilt, chin lift, or jaw thrust maneuver if the victim has a spine injury. Then pinch the nose shut and give the first rescue breath, lasting for 1 second. The correct ventilation rate for adults is 10 to 12 breaths per minute. Ensure the chest rises and falls with each breath.

When do you perform CPR on a child?

It is necessary to perform CPR on an unconscious child with no pulse, breathing, or gasp. When performing CPR on a child, you must strictly follow the American Heart Association guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. The target rate for chest compressions for a child is 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.

Can I use AED if the victim is unconscious, does not breathe but has a pulse?

An AED can only be used on someone with Tachycardia or a rapid heart rate. You cannot use it on victims with an extremely slow heart rhythm or those whose heart stops beating. When you attach the electrode pads to the victim's chest, the AED will determine whether the victim's heart needs an electric shock or not.


American Heart Association (2020). Hands Only CPR - Adult & Child [Online]. Available from