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CPR

Definition

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is an emergency lifesaving procedure that is done when someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. This may happen after an electric shock, heart attack, or drowning.

CPR combines rescue breathing and chest compressions.

  • Rescue breathing provides oxygen to the person's lungs.
  • Chest compressions keep oxygen-rich blood flowing until the heartbeat and breathing can be restored.

Permanent brain damage or death can occur within minutes if blood flow stops. Therefore, it is very important that blood flow and breathing be continued until trained medical help arrives. Emergency (911) operators can guide you through the process.

CPR techniques vary slightly depending on the age or size of the patient, including different techniques for adults and children 9 years and older, children 1 through 8 years old, and infants.

Alternative Names

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

References

American Red Cross. First Aid/CPR/AED Participant's Manual. 2nd ed. Dallas, TX: American Red Cross; 2014.

Berg RA, Hemphill R, Abella BS, et al. Part 5: Adult Basic Life Support: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation. 2010;122(18 Suppl 3):S685-S705. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20956221.

Berg MD, Schexnayder SM, Chameides L, et al. Part 13: Pediatric Basic Life Support: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation. 2010;122(18 Suppl 3):S862-S875. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20956229.


Review Date: 4/12/2015
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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