How to perform CPR


In an emergency medical situation, performing CPR could save someone’s life. However, if you haven’t received specialist training, you might be in need of guidance on how to do CPR correctly. Attending a course on how to do CPR is the best way to ensure your life saving skills are up to scratch, however, if you want to revise the correct method before you go, here’s a quick run through of how to perform CPR.

How to perform CPR on an adult

In a medical emergency such as a cardiac arrest, performing CPR can improve a person’s chance of survival. If you haven’t received training in CPR, you may want to only perform chest compressions (hands-only CPR) on the patient. If you’re confident in performing CPR, you can also perform rescue breaths.

How to carry out chest compressions:

1. Put the heel of your hand on the patient’s sternum (breastbone). This will be in the centre of their chest. When your first hand is in the right position, put your other hand on top and interlock your fingers.

2. Shift your weight so your shoulders are directly above your hands. You should now be leaning over the patient’s chest.

3. Using your body weight, press straight down by about 5-6cm on their chest.

4. Keeping your hand on their chest, release your weight and let their chest return to its normal position.

5. Repeat this process at a rate of 100 to 120 times per minute. Continue performing the chest compressions until an ambulance arrives.

How to carry out rescue breaths:

1. If you want to also perform rescue breaths, you should give two rescue breaths after every 30 chest compressions.

2. Perform 30 chest compressions as per the instructions above.

3. After 30 compressions, gently tilt the patient’s head back and lift up their chin.

4. Pinch the patient’s nose, seal your mouth over theirs and blow firmly into their mouth for one second. You should see their chest rise. Repeat this one more time.

5. Continue with the 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths cycle until the emergency services arrive.

How to perform CPR on a child

Performing CPR on a child is slightly different to performing CPR on an adult.

1. Remove any visible obstructions from the child’s airway. Place one hand on their forehead, carefully tilting their head back to lift their chin.

2. Perform five initial rescue breaths as per the instructions above.

3. Place just one hand on the centre of the child’s chest and push down 5cm. This should be about one third of the chest diameter. Use two hands if you can’t compress the chest 5cm with just one hand.

4. Perform 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 – 120 per minute.

5. Give two rescue breaths.

6. Repeat the cycle of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover, or help arrives.

How to perform CPR on an infant under one

1. Carry out steps 1 and 2 for carrying out CPR on a child.

2. After you’ve given 5 initial rescue breaths, place two fingers on the middle of the infant’s chest and push down 4cm. This should be approximately one-third of the chest diameter. Use the heel of your hand if you can’t achieve the correct depth with two fingers.

3. Carry out 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 – 120 per minute.

4. Give two rescue breaths.

5. Repeat the cycle of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover, or help arrives.

How else can you help?

If there is a defibrillator to hand, you can use it to help an adult or a child over the age of one. A defibrillator will send an electric shock through their heart if it has gone into cardiac arrest. Defibrillators are very easy to use and automated external defibrillators (AED), the kind you find in public places, are designed to be used by someone with little or no training.

If you are on your own, do not cease performing CPR to seek out a defibrillator. However, if there is someone else available to go and retrieve the nearest available defibrillator, using one could improve the patient’s chance of survival. Defibrillators often have spoken instructions and diagrams on the machine, and it will also tell you whether or not to shock the patient.

Now you know how to correctly perform CPR, you should be able to act more effectively in an emergency situation. If you’d like more information about finding the right defibrillator for your working environment, take a look at our range of defibrillator products.