A woman performs CPR outside.
Kids & Family Health

Learning CPR Can Be Lifesaving

Imagine if someone collapsed in front of you and their heart stopped beating. What would you do?

Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming around 436,000 lives each year. What’s more, roughly 350,000 cardiac arrests will occur outside of hospitals. Immediate CPR is crucial and can increase a person's chance of survival. Unfortunately, only about 40% of cardiac arrest victims receive immediate help from witnesses. 

By learning the basics of CPR, you’ll gain the essential skills to help manage an emergency. Read on for a lesson that could be lifesaving!

What is CPR?

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a lifesaving technique used during cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating or does not circulate blood adequately to vital organs like the brain.

During cardiac arrest, applying CPR can make a significant difference. It is a simple yet powerful action that ensures blood continues to flow to the brain and heart until professional help arrives, effectively doubling or even tripling the chance of survival.

Types of CPR

There are two unique types of CPR—a hands-only technique, and combination of hand and breathing aid.

  1. Hands-Only CPR — This is a simplified and quick-to-learn form of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation that utilizes chest compressions. It is designed to be easy to perform for anyone, even without formal training. 
  2. CPR With Rescue Breaths — CPR with rescue breaths is the traditional form of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation that combines chest compressions with mouth-to-mouth breaths. This method is used to both circulate blood and provide oxygen to the person's lungs.
A closeup of hands performing CPR on a chest.

How to Perform CPR

If an emergency occurs, follow the steps below to effectively perform CPR:

  1. Check the Scene — Make sure the area is safe.
  2. Check the Person — Tap them and shout, "Are you okay?" to see if they respond.
  3. Call for Help — If there is no response, call 911, then ask someone nearby to get an AED(Automated External Defibrillator) if available.
  4. Position for CPR — Gently roll the person onto their back.

For hands-only CPR:

  1. Position Your Hands — Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest and put your other hand on top, interlocking your fingers.
  2. Start Compressions — Push hard and fast, at least 2 inches deep, and at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. Let the chest rise fully between pushes. 
  3. Continue Until Help Arrives — Keep doing compressions until medical help arrives or the person starts to move.

For CPR with Rescue Breaths:

  1. Open the Airway — Lean the person's head back and lift their chin.
  2. Give Rescue Breaths — Pinch the nose shut, cover their mouth with yours, and give two breaths, watching for the chest to rise.
  3. Start Compressions — Do 30 chest compressions (same as hands-only CPR).
  4. Repeat — Continue the pattern of two breaths, then 30 compressions, until help arrives, or the person recovers.

CPR can mean the difference between life and death during cardiac emergencies. By learning, you can be ready to help loved ones and others in critical moments. Want proper training? The Critical Care Training Center offers free classes in English and Spanish throughout Los Angeles County. 

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Learning CPR Can Be Lifesaving