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How Do You Know When To Give CPR?

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CPR is a must-have life-saving skill to save lives whenever you get a chance. It already saves multiple lives every day around the country.

The main problem is when people don’t know when to give CPR. They are unfamiliar with either the CPR techniques or its situations. This lack of knowledge can be fatal to a patient’s life when having a heart attack. 

To rectify this situation, we help you know when to perform CPR. So, when you encounter CPR situations next, you come out as a hero. Let’s begin this research below before you enroll in our nationally-accepted online CPR course. 

How To Know When To Give CPR?

A person might die within minutes after their heart stops beating. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR helps tackle this life-threatening situation for a victim. The chest compressions mimic the beating heart to restart the blood flow to the brain. But there are other medical emergencies to know if someone needs CPR. These are:

1. Patient falls unconscious

During cardiac arrest, a patient might fall unconscious after blood flow to the brain stops. If the blood flow does not restart within the next couple of minutes, the brain receives irreversible damage. CPR helps in keeping the blood flowing to the brain and other vital body parts. 

2. Patient stops breathing

When a person’s breathing stops, the combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths helps circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body, especially to vital organs like the brain and heart. Without CPR, their body and heart will stop operating. This could lead to the immediate death of the victim. When lay responders start giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR within the first 2-3 minutes of cardiac arrest, chances of survival improve. 

3. Patient gasps for breath

A patient gasps for breath when they are going into cardiac arrest. CPR compressions should be given immediately in this situation to mimic heartbeats. The oxygenated blood flow will improve. Lay responders can help prevent a severe case of cardiac arrest by giving CPR on time in this situation. 

4. Patient’s heart has stopped beating

When you check the patient’s pulse and don’t feel anything, it’s time to give CPR immediately. Because if their heart has stopped beating, that means their body is not receiving oxygen anymore.

The body will start shutting down fast. With chest compressions, blood flows to the heart and brain for some time. So, until advanced medical help arrives, CPR is the best solution to save someone’s life. 

Situations When You Do Not Perform CPR?

It’s important to give CPR. But so is the knowledge of when not to perform CPR. Because performing CPR in the wrong situations can reduce the victim’s chances of survival. Similarly, there are situations where there is no need for CPR at all. Read these cases below in brief: 

1. When there are obvious signs of life 

When the person is breathing properly, there is no need to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR unnecessarily. It must only be given in cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR situations, like when they start choking, gasping, or falling unconscious.

2. When advanced medical help is available

When medical healthcare professionals are there at the emergency scene, you don’t need to give CPR. They will already have the right equipment to solve this case and help the victim survive.

3. When the scene becomes unsafe

Rescuers must also think of their safety. If the emergency scene becomes unsafe, they should find a safe shelter first. Then, they can call an ambulance or external medical help if phone lines are working.

4. When rescuers are exhausted

Performing CPR on a victim will be difficult and life-threatening for exhausted rescuers. If you’re one of the rescuers, check your pulse first because rescue breathing and chest compressions take a toll. If you don’t have energy, you can endanger your life, too.

5. When a trained responder is available at the scene

A trained responder would perform CPR better and more accurately. Let them do it if you never gave anyone CPR before. You can assist them in calling medical help as fast as possible to save the victim’s life. 

Basic Steps To Start CPR

Bystanders without formal training can perform CPR and save a life with hands-only CPR. The basic steps to start CPR for civilians on adults or teens are:

1. Check for obvious signs of breathing

Check if the patient’s chest is rising and falling consistently. This will help you to know if the patient needs immediate assistance on the breathing or not. Then, you can remain calm and move forward to the next step of the rescuing procedure.

2. Call 911 for immediate medical help

When you confirm that the patient is gasping for breaths, call 911. Then start performing hands-only CPR. However, make sure not to panic. Keep monitoring the patient and ensure that when you begin to press chest compressions, the chest recoils back fully. Additionally, you can keep the medical help on the line. If you’re unaware of the CPR procedure, the medical team on the 911 call will assist you with confidence till their team arrives.

3. Adjust your body next to the victim for chest compressions

Kneel next to the victim’s body. Press your fingers against the chest to feel the end of the breastbone. Place two fingers there, and then place your other hand’s heel. Remove the fingers and now place this hand’s heel over the previous one. Your both hands should be intertwined now. 

4. Start chest compressions

Push 2 to 2.4 inches into the chest, giving the right pressure from the heel of your hand.

Remember to give 100-120 chest compressions per minute. Use your bodyweight to add to the pressure, if required. Continue it until the ambulance or advanced medical help arrives with an Automated External Defibrillator to regularize the heartbeat. 

When you give CPR to children, the pressure of chest compressions must be 2 inches max. Avoid leaning over the victim completely while giving chest compressions.


You can always know when to give CPR and perform it well with the right training and knowledge.

Enroll in American HealthCare Academy’s nationally-recognized online CPR course today for CPR training by OSHA-certified experts. Avail group discounts for a group of 5 or more learners.