Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a life-saving technique that has been used for decades to help people who are experiencing cardiac arrest or other medical emergencies. This technique involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, and it has been proven to increase the chances of survival for people who are in cardiac arrest. Let’s explore the science of CPR, why it’s so important, and how you can learn this incredible skill.

What is CPR?

CPR is a technique that is used to help people who are experiencing cardiac arrest or other emergencies like choking, drowning, or suffocation. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating and can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, their brain and other organs are deprived of oxygen, which can cause permanent damage or even death. CPR is a way to keep blood flowing to the brain and other organs until medical professionals arrive.

By keeping blood flowing to vital organs and the brain, you ensure oxygen reaches all areas of the body and increase the person’s chance of survival. You also may mitigate the severity of any lasting harm from their medical emergency; for instance, oxygen deprivation in the brain can lead to traumatic brain injuries.

CPR uses a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths to manually pump blood from the heart.

Chest Compressions

Chest compressions apply pressure to the chest with enough force to compress the heart and force blood out into the body. This helps keep the blood flowing to the brain and other organs. The American Heart Association recommends that you perform 100-120 chest compressions per minute and that the chest be compressed to a depth of at least 2 inches. Chest compressions can be performed without prior training, but learning the proper technique can increase the likelihood of effectiveness.

Rescue Breaths

Rescue breaths involve blowing air into the person’s lungs to help oxygenate the blood. This is done by tilting the person’s head back and lifting their chin, then sealing your mouth over theirs and blowing air into their lungs. The AHA recommends that rescue breaths be given in a ratio of 30 compressions to 2 breaths.

Why is CPR Important?

CPR can save lives, reduce harm, and empower you during emergencies. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute counts. The longer the brain and other organs are deprived of oxygen, the more damage can occur. CPR can help to keep blood flowing to the brain and other organs until medical personnel arrive, which can double or even triple the person’s chances of survival.

In addition to saving lives and reducing harm from injuries, learning CPR can help prepare you for emergency situations. CPR training courses teach you to recognize the signs of medical distress, respond quickly, and communicate effectively. When emergencies occur, many people have a tendency to freeze since they don’t know what to do. All it takes is one authoritative voice to get people moving so the person in distress receives help. With proper training, you can be that voice.

Learning CPR Through Training Courses

Proper CPR technique has a better chance of helping someone in distress and reduces the risk of accidental harm. These days, it is rather easy to learn CPR through a myriad of training classes and resources.

CPR training courses are offered by a variety of organizations, including ProTrainings. They can be taken online, in person, or through a combination of both. Most CPR courses will cover the following topics:

  • How to recognize cardiac arrest
  • How to perform chest compressions and rescue breaths
  • How to use an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • How to perform CPR on adults, children, and infants
  • How to work as a team during emergencies

In-person CPR instruction includes hands-on practice with mannequins to simulate performing CPR on a real person. If you take your course online, you can order a CPR mannequin kit for practice at home.

After course completion, you will be required to pass an examination. Passing allows you to be officially certified. CPR certification is valid for two years, after which you will need a refresher course and another exam.

Online Resources for CPR

While they don’t make up for the thorough training you get from a course, there are online resources that can help you learn CPR— though you cannot claim to be certified. You can find instructional videos on YouTube and other video-sharing platforms or download the Red Cross app for first-aid tips. Be sure to verify that any videos you watch are up to date with the latest CPR guidelines.

You can also find instructional articles from medical institutions discussing tips and tricks for CPR and how to handle emergencies.

Be Someone’s Hero

With proper CPR techniques and certification, you can save someone’s life simply by being in the right place at the right time. You can take control of emergencies around you and help create a healthier, safer community. Who knows? You may even inspire others around you to take a class on CPR.