What Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?

Understand why Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is important

CPR (The full medical term Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a set of emergency procedures that should be performed by someone trained in the practice to assist when a persons’ heart stops.  The goal is to prolong circulation and air function in the person who is experiencing trauma.

Without proper flow of the blood, vital organs and the brain can be damaged and the person can pass away within minutes. CPR can help with the maintenance of blood flow and ventilation for a short period in a person who might be experiencing symptoms of cardiac arrest.

How to proceed

If you witness someone experiencing the symptoms of cardiac arrest, there are simple ways to start performing potentially life-saving CPR before more experienced help or paramedics arrive.

Call your local emergency number (911) immediately. If there are others around, get them to make the call for you.

  • CPR should be performed with the person lying on their back unless it is impossible for them to be turned.
  • Ask for an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) if one is available. An AED is used to bring a heart back to natural rhythms by administering an electrical shock to a heart that may be in the midst of cardiac arrest.
  • Push fast and hard in the center of the chest to start CPR.  Keep working until someone else with more medical experience comes in to take over.
  • Do everything you can to remain calm. Panic can heighten the dangers and difficulty of the situation to a detrimental effect.

When medical help arrives, it is important to mention the things you have been doing in as much detail as possible so the paramedics can get a sense of where things may have left off. Time is of the essence with CPR.

Look for training courses

CPR can make the difference between life and death and continues to save lives across the world.

You might want to consider taking a course in order to be properly trained. While basic CPR knowledge is helpful, having complete training in properly administering CPR may make the difference in saving a life. Many workplaces or public places (such as train stations) now carry an AED. If you see one in your workplace, ask your superior to see if you might be trained on it. It can always be a positive thing to have someone else around who knows how to work this life-saving device.

Please note that this is meant to be an informative introduction to CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). It should not be seen as a guide to replace a formal course. Proper training in CPR is widely encouraged. Courses can be taken almost anywhere a person lives. These courses are administered by professionals and can be a potentially life-saving worthwhile investment.

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Last Reviewed:
January 26, 2017
Last Updated:
October 04, 2017