CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

What is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a way to give oxygen and to keep the blood flowing when the heart stops beating. It is an emergency procedure that can save lives.

When is it used?

CPR may be used when someone is not breathing or when their heart is not beating. For example, the heart or breathing may stop because of:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • A very bad head or back injury
  • Choking on something
  • Drowning
  • Severe infection
  • A severe electrical shock
  • An abnormal heart rhythm
  • Severe allergic reaction

When this happens, someone should call 911 and the person should be given CPR until he or she starts moving or emergency medical help arrives. If CPR is not done, the person could have brain damage or die in 5 to 10 minutes.

What happens during CPR?

CPR is done by pushing on the person’s chest to keep the blood flowing and blowing air into their lungs to give them some oxygen.

How can I learn CPR?

You can take a class to learn how to give CPR. In classes for adult CPR, information is provided on the signs and symptoms of a stroke or heart attack as well as ways to reduce the risk of developing these problems. Classes are also available for infant and child CPR. It is important that a special class be taken for giving CPR to children because the procedures are different. Some classes combine the training for both adult CPR and infant and child CPR.

CPR classes are open to the public and are held in hospitals, fire departments, and community centers. For information on classes for CPR and other life-saving skills, contact:

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-11-11
Last reviewed: 2014-11-24
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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