If you are interested in how to do CPR on an adult, then you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the basic steps of performing CPR.

If you would like to further your first aid skills we also offer a range of first aid courses.

CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) is a procedure in which a person’s chest is pressed rhythmically to artificially maintain a liveable heart rate and blood circulation during a cardiac arrest. However, first of all, it is important that you understand how to identify when someone is in cardiac arrest.

Some common symptoms of cardiac arrest in adults include:

  • the person is not responding or is not conscious
  • the person has an abnormal, high-pitched or gasping noise when breathing
  • the person’s skin is pale, cool, and clammy
  • the person’s body is limp and unresponsive
  • and/or the person’s lips and fingernails appear blue-ish.

If any of these symptoms are present, then you should immediately begin to perform CPR.

It is important to note that cardiac arrest in itself is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack is a condition in which the heart muscle is suddenly starved of oxygen and nutrients due to a blockage in one of the coronary arteries. This is how to do CPR on an adult if the person’s heart has stopped beating due to cardiac arrest.

How To Do CPR On An Adult:

  1. If you spot someone unconscious, do a primary survey first. Do not get too close to their face. If you’ve determined that they’re unconscious and aren’t breathing, call 999 or 112 for emergency assistance and start performing CPR. If someone else is available, ask them to find and bring a defibrillator if one is available.
    • Ask your assistant to hold the phone up to you on speaker and keep a 2m distance between them.
    • If you’re on your own, use a hands-free phone to start CPR while still talking to ambulance control.
    • Do not leave the patient to go looking for a defibrillator. One will be delivered in an ambulance.
  2. Use a towel or other item of clothing to cover the mouth and nose of the victim before beginning CPR.
    • Begin CPR. Kneel down next to the victim and place your hand on their chest with the heel of your palm facing forward. Interlock your fingers with your other hand, placing it atop the first.
    • Keeping your arms straight and bending over the victim, press down firmly for a depth of approximately 5-6cm before releasing the pressure, allowing the chest to rise back up.
    • The rhythm of “Staying Alive” can aid you in maintaining the correct speed.
    • Rescue breaths should not be given.
  3. Continue doing CPR until:
    • emergency help arrives and takes over
    • The patient begins to breathe normally and demonstrate signs of life.
    • You are too fatigued to keep going (if there is a helper, you can swap every one-to-two minutes with minimal disruptions to chest compressions)
    • defibrillator is available
  4. If the helper returns with a defibrillator, instruct them to turn it on and follow the voice instructions while you continue CPR.
    • The helper should maintain a distance of 2m where possible.
  5. If the patient responds to stimuli, such as coughing, opening their eyes, speaking, and breathing normally, place them in the recovery position. Continue to check their response level and be prepared to administer CPR once more if required.
    • If you’ve attached a defibrillator, keep it in place.

If you or your employees need first aid qualifications, take a look at our range of first aid training courses. Alternatively, get in touch today to find out more.


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