Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency technique used during cardiac arrest. Anyone can perform this lifesaving procedure.
CPR involves pressing firmly on a person’s chest to squeeze blood from the heart. The goal is to force circulation when the heart stops beating, and supply vital organs with oxygen. CPR can partially restore heart and lung functions, and prevent severe brain damage and death.
Do you know what to do if someone needs CPR in Central California? Attend a Dignity Health child and infant CPR class at St. Joseph’s Medical Center or another location and be prepared to take lifesaving measures in an emergency.
CPR Steps for Adults
There is no wrong way to perform CPR — hands-only CPR (without assisted breathing) is perfectly acceptable.
Basic steps for hands-only teen and adult CPR include:
- Talk to the person in a loud voice or rub their chest hard to get his or her attention.
- Check for breathing and a pulse.
- Call 911 if there is no pulse or breathing. Ask someone to find an AED (automated external defibrillator). Do not delay CPR to find an AED.
- Put one hand on top of the other and interlock your fingers.
- Put your hands on the person’s breastbone (center of chest) and lock your elbows.
- Press down hard — the chest should go down at least one inch with each compression.
- Continue to push down hard and fast, aiming for at least 100 times per minute.
- Do not stop until emergency medical help arrives.
Learn Infant & Child CPR Procedures at Dignity Health Central California
Follow these steps for infant CPR:
- Lay the baby on his or her back and tilt the head to open the airway.
- Using two fingers, begin pushing hard and fast on the breastbone. Avoid the tip of the bone, as it can break off and cause further complications.
- If the infant remains unresponsive after two minutes of CPR, call 911 or have someone else do so.
- Check for breathing — provide two rescue breaths if there is none.
- Resume compressions until help arrives.
If a child needs CPR:
- Follow adult CPR steps, but use only one hand.
- If you are not achieving acceptable compressions, use both hands.
Recovering from CPR
If you have to perform CPR, you may have an emotional reaction to the experience. It is normal to feel fear, concern, anxiety, or other discomfort during or after the procedure. Try to focus on the task at hand to remain calm.
If you received CPR, you may feel soreness from compressions or the AED. It is common to have feelings of sorrow or guilt after receiving CPR. Discuss these feelings with your Dignity Health Central California doctor — you may benefit from a referral to appropriate mental health providers.
Are you at risk for heart disease or cardiac arrest? Take our free heart health assessment and discuss the results with your cardiologist.
Dignity Health Central California provides emergency care, including CPR, in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.