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Health Information Encyclopedia - First Aid

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CPR - adult - series

Check for responsiveness:
Check for responsiveness

1. Check for responsiveness. Shake or tap the person gently. See if the person moves or makes a noise. Shout, "Are you OK?"

2. Call 911 if there is no response. Shout for help and send someone to call 911. If you are alone, call 911 and retrieve an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available, even if you have to leave the person.

3. Carefully place the person on their back. If there is a chance the person has a spinal injury, two people should move the person to prevent the head and neck from twisting.



Chest compressions:
Chest compressions

4. Perform chest compressions:

  • Place the heel of one hand on the breastbone – just below the nipples.
  • Place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand.
  • Position your body directly over your hands.
  • Give 30 chest compressions. These compressions should be FAST and hard. Press down about 2 inches into the chest. Each time, let the chest rise completely. Count the 30 compressions quickly: "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30, off."


Check for breathing:
Check for breathing

5. Open the airway. Lift up the chin with 2 fingers. At the same time, push down on the forehead with the other hand.

6. Look, listen, and feel for breathing. Place your ear close to the person’s mouth and nose. Watch for chest movement. Feel for breath on your cheek.



Person not breathing:
Person not breathing

7. If the person is not breathing or has trouble breathing:

  • Cover the person’s mouth tightly with your mouth.
  • Pinch the nose closed.
  • Keep the chin lifted and head tilted.
  • Give 2 breaths. Each breath should take about a second and make the chest rise.

8. Continue CPR (30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths, then repeat) until the person recovers or help arrives. If an AED for adults is available, use it as soon as possible.

If the person starts breathing again, place them in the recovery position. Periodically re-check for breathing until help arrives.




Review Date: 9/2/2011
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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