A Simple Explanation

It is a life-saving technique useful in emergencies like heart attack, drowning etc., in which either the person’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

What is it?

This is an emergency procedure making use of chest compressions and artificial ventilation to maintain blood circulation and breathing for patients with cardiac arrest.

The Procedure

The acronym C-A-B is commonly used to help people remember the order of the steps to perform CPR. These steps are to be followed for adults.

for Compressions

This step is to restore blood circulation.

  • Lay the patient on his/her back on a firm surface.
  • Kneel next to the patient’s neck and shoulders.
  • Place the heel of one hand over the center of the patient’s chest. Place your other hand on top of the other. Keep the elbows straight and shoulders directly above your hands.
  • Compress the chest, using the upper bodyweight along with your arms, at least 2 inches but lesser than 2.4 inches.
  • If trained in CPR, check the airway next and rescue breathing.
  • If not trained in CPR, continue the chest compressions until signs of movement or till the emergency medical personnel take over.

For Airway

This step is to clear the airway, the mouth and nose area, and to be followed by CPR trained personnel.

  • Once the chest compressions reach 30, open the patient’s airway using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. Place your hand on the patient’s forehead and gently tilt the head back then with the other hand, gently lift the patient’s chin forward to open the airway.
  • Check for normal breathing (5-10 sec). Check for chest motion, normal breathing sounds and feel for breath. Please note: Gasping is not normal breathing.
  • If trained in CPR and the patient isn’t breathing normally, begin mouth-to-mouth breathing. Please note if not trained in emergency procedures and the patient is still unconscious from a heart attack, continue chest compressions.

for Breathing

This step is to provide breath to the patient. Rescue breathing can be mouth-to-mouth breathing and if the mouth can’t be opened then go for mouth-to-nose breathing.

  • With the airway open (head-tilt, chin-lift), pinch the patient’s nostrils shut for mouth-to-mouth breathing and cover the patient’s mouth with yours.
  • Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Give the first one, for one second. If chest rises, give the second one. If it doesn’t, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath.
  • Thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths is considered one cycle. Please note: Don’t give too many breaths or breath with too much force.
  • Resume chest compressions to restore circulation.
  • If the patient hasn’t moved even after 5 cycles and if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, apply it and follow the prompts. If AED is not available, go to the next step. Please note: If you are not trained to use AED, let the
  • Continue with the CPR until patient shows any sign of movement or wait for the emergency personnel.

CPR for a Child

The procedure is similar to that of an adult.

  • Perform 5 cycles of compressions and breaths before calling for emergency personnel.
  • Use one hand if the child is small and compress the chest to about 2 inches.
  • Breathe more gently.
  • If trained in AED, apply it using pediatric pads and wait for the prompts.

    Please Note: Do not use AED on infants.

    Do not use AED if not trained.

CPR for a Baby

In babies, most cardiac arrests occur from lack of oxygen, from drowning or choking. If there is an airway obstruction, perform first aid for choking. Perform CPR only if the reason for breathing is not found.

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