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What Situations Require CPR?


CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a common and easy-to-learn medical procedure that saves lives. Understanding What Situations Require CPR? is important. Cycling between chest compressions and rescue breaths helps the heart pump blood and oxygen to the brain and other organs when the heart is unable to do so. In many instances, this can save the life of a cardiac arrest victim.

But CPR can respond to more than just cardiac arrest episodes. Many may not realize how versatile this procedure is and how it can be used in many different emergency scenarios. From electrocution to near-drowning, CPR can save lives.

In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at CPR and specifically which situations would require CPR. Knowing when to perform CPR is just as important as knowing how. That’s why we’re guiding you through the situations that may call for this procedure.

The American Health Care Academy is dedicated to providing thorough and professional CPR training and certification through our 100 percent online classes. We believe that everyone should have access to the skills, knowledge, and confidence that will enable you to take action in the event of a medical emergency, which is why our courses are accessible, fast, and affordable. With CPR training and certification, you’ll have the skills to potentially save a life. 


By enrolling in an online CPR certification course, you’ll learn more than just how to perform CPR. These classes also provide you with foundational medical information about the human body and how CPR actually works to aid the victim. 

So, how exactly does CPR work? Following cardiac arrest (or a similar type of medical emergency), the heart stops, making it unable to pump blood, oxygen, and vital nutrients throughout the body. Within just a few minutes, this lack of circulation can be fatal for the victim.

This is where CPR comes into play. With cycles of chest compressions and rescue breaths, you can help keep the victim stable. Chest compressions work to mimic how the heart pumps to keep blood and oxygen circulating throughout the body. Rescue breaths provide vital oxygen directly to the victim. 


You should stop giving CPR when you notice signs of life or if it’s not safe to perform the technique. You must also consider stopping CPR if the victim has terminal illness like Cancer. Also, stop giving CPR if you’re experiencing physical fatigue.  Lastly, if advanced help or a medical professional arrives and takes over, you can stop giving CPR.


In the event of a medical emergency, it can be confusing to know whether or not you should even attempt CPR. Especially if you didn’t see the accident occur, how do you know for sure that CPR will be the most effective action to take? This is an especially critical question because, following a cardiac arrest or other medical emergency, time is truly of the essence.

Here are the signs to look for when determining whether you should perform CPR: 

  • The victim isn’t breathing: if the victim isn’t breathing, you should begin performing CPR immediately. Watch their chest to see if it’s rising and falling and listen carefully over their mouth for a few seconds to determine if they have a steady breath. Even if the victim lets out an occasional gasping breath, they need CPR.
  • The victim is unresponsive: if the victim is unconscious or unresponsive, this is a sign that you should provide CPR.
  • The victim has no pulse: check for a pulse on the side of the victim’s neck for at least five seconds. 

If you see any of these signs, it’s critical that you call 911 and begin performing CPR immediately. If the brain goes minutes without oxygen, permanent brain damage or death can occur. This is because the brain is unable to actually store oxygen, which is why it needs blood and oxygen circulated continuously by the heart. Experts advise that if you begin performing CPR within six minutes of cardiac arrest, a bystander can dramatically increase the survival rate of the victim. 


Most people commonly associate CPR with cardiac arrest. There’s a good reason for that. CPR is an effective way to stabilize the victim of a cardiac arrest episode until medical professionals reach the scene. However, CPR can be used in many other emergency situations and improve the survival rate of the victim.

In addition to cardiac arrest episodes, these are some of the other medical emergencies that require a bystander to take action and perform CPR: 

1. Electrocution.

If someone experiences a high-voltage electrical shock, this may result in seizures, respiratory failure, or even cardiac arrest. Electrical injuries are surprisingly common and may occur from using electrical appliances with faulty or exposed wiring or touching an electrical source with wet hands. CPR classes teach you how to provide CPR to victims of electrocution.         

2. Smoke inhalation. 

During a fire, smoke can prove to be even more harmful than the fire itself. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), smoke inhalation causes more deaths than burns during fires. As smoke fills the air, it depletes the amount of available oxygen, and if you’re nearby, can lead to dizziness, nausea, or cause you to become unconscious. CPR can provide critical, life-saving oxygen to the victim of severe smoke inhalation.        

3. Near-drowning event.

This is why lifeguards are required to be trained in CPR. During a near-drowning event, the victim is unable to breathe due to extended submersion in water. This lack of oxygen causes the body to shut down. CPR provides the needed oxygen to a near-drowning victim even if they’ve been submerged in water for a long period of time.

4. Poisoning. 

If someone ingests or is otherwise exposed to a poisonous substance, they may become unconscious and unable to breathe. If the victim is unresponsive, CPR can be used to stabilize the condition of a poisoning victim until they can receive additional treatment from medical personnel.           

5. Choking accidents.

Choking accidents are especially common with small children. When you’re choking on a foreign object (like a toy or piece of food), your airway becomes blocked and breathing becomes difficult if not impossible. This lack of oxygen can quickly become life-threatening. In most CPR and First Aid training classes, students learn to identify choking accidents and how to effectively respond. 


CPR is an incredibly effective procedure that anyone can learn. With a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, a trained bystander can dramatically improve the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim. But that’s not the only emergency situation where CPR can be beneficial. For victims of heart attacks, poisoning, smoke inhalation, electrocution, or near-drowning events, CPR can keep blood and oxygen circulating to the brain and other vital organs until paramedics arrive on the scene. If the victim isn’t breathing, won’t respond, or doesn’t have a pulse, you should begin to immediately perform CPR. This important procedure could be the difference between life and death.

Here at the American Health Care Academy, we’re dedicated to training as many people as possible in CPR and other life-saving procedures. Over the past 11 years, we’ve trained and certified over 700,000 students. With our online certification classes, it’s never been easier to earn your CPR certification. We look forward to working with you next. 

For more information on our full range of medical training classes, check out our 100 percent online CPR certification courses or give us a call at 1-888-277-7865. We also proudly offer classes in First Aid, Bloodborne Pathogens, and a combination CPR/AED course

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