CPR is performed to restore and maintain breathing and circulation and to provide oxygen and blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs. CPR can be performed by trained laypeople or healthcare professionals on infants, children, adolescents, and adults. CPR should be performed if an infant, child, or adolescent is unconscious and not breathing. Respiratory and cardiac arrest can be caused by allergic reactions, an ineffective heartbeat, asphyxiation, breathing passages that are blocked, choking , drowning, drug reactions or overdoses, electric shock, exposure to cold, severe shock, or trauma. In newborns, the most common cause of cardiopulmonary arrest is respiratory failure caused by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), airway obstruction (usually from inhalation of a foreign body), sepsis, neurologic disease, or drowning. Cardiac arrest in children over one year of age is most commonly caused by shock and/or respiratory failure resulting from an accident or injury.
CPR can cause injury to a person's ribs, liver, lungs, and heart. However, these risks must be accepted if CPR is necessary to save the person's life.
CPR should be done if a person has any of the following symptoms:
For an unconscious, CPR is initiated as follows:
CPR is a way to treat someone when they stop breathing or their heart stops beating.
If a person stops breathing, call your local emergency services or ask someone else to. Before beginning CPR, ask loudly, “Are you OK?” If the person doesn’t respond, begin CPR.
To minimize potential injuries, only those trained in CPR should perform rescue breathing. If you haven’t been trained, perform chest compressions until medical help arrives.
If you’re trained in CPR, tilt the person’s head back and lift the chin to open up the airway.
If unconsciousness is due to low blood pressure, a doctor will administer medication by injection to increase blood pressure. If low blood sugar level is the cause, the unconscious person may need something sweet to eat or a glucose injection.
Medical staff should treat any injuries that caused the person to become unconscious.
Prevention of cardiac arrest is the first link in the Chain of Survival. This section of the Resuscitation Council (UK) guidelines stresses the importance of preventing cardiac arrest in all age groups, and the decision-making process when cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is inappropriate.