CPR 

This page provides information and guidance about hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and CPR with rescue breaths.

Hands-only CPR

To carry out a chest compression:

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.
  2. Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands.
  3. Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches) on their chest.
  4. Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its original position.  
  5. Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times per minute until an ambulance arrives or you become exhausted.

When you call for an ambulance, telephone systems now exist that can give basic life-saving instructions, including advice about CPR. These are now common and are easily accessible with mobile phones.

CPR with rescue breaths

If you’ve been trained in CPR, including rescue breaths, and feel confident using your skills, you should give chest compressions with rescue breaths. If you're not completely confident, attempt hands-only CPR instead (see above).

Adults

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the centre of the person's chest, then place the other hand on top and press down by 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches) at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  2. After every 30 chest compressions, give two rescue breaths.
  3. Tilt the casualty's head gently and lift the chin up with two fingers. Pinch the person’s nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for about one second. Check that their chest rises. Give two rescue breaths.
  4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

Children over one year old

  1. Open the child's airway by placing one hand on the child’s forehead and gently tilting their head back and lifting the chin. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose.
  2. Pinch their nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, checking that their chest rises. Give five initial rescue breaths.
  3. Place the heel of one hand on the centre of their chest and push down by 5cm (about two inches), which is approximately one-third of the chest diameter. The quality (depth) of chest compressions is very important. Use two hands if you can't achieve a depth of 5cm using one hand.
  4. After every 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute, give two breaths.
  5. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

Infants under one year old

  1. Open the infant's airway by placing one hand on their forehead and gently tilting the head back and lifting the chin. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth and nose.
  2. Place your mouth over the mouth and nose of the infant and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, checking that their chest rises. Give five initial rescue breaths.
  3. Place two fingers in the middle of the chest and push down by 4cm (about 1.5 inches), which is approximately one-third of the chest diameter. The quality (depth) of chest compressions is very important. Use the heel of one hand if you can't achieve a depth of 4cm using the tips of two fingers.
  4. After 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute, give two rescue breaths.
  5. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.



Page last reviewed: 08/01/2016

Next review due: 01/01/2019