CPR Classes by the American Heart Association

BLS Renewal Classes near Pleasanton

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, is procedure used in emergency situations when a person’s breathing or heart functions are compromised. It involves physical manipulation of the heart (cardio) via chest compressions and/or lungs (pulmonary) via manual ventilation to maintain or restore blood circulation and breathing. There are two main methods of CPR that can be performed, depending on the situation.


Standard CPR consists of both chest compression and manual ventilation. An ideal situation involves two rescuers, with one performing chest compressions and the other performing the ventilation. The ideal ratio of chest compressions to ventilation is 30:2 for adults (using two hands), 30:2 for children (using one hand), and 30:2 for newborns and infants (using two fingers-index and middle). Rescuers should aim for at least 100 chest compressions per minute, regardless of victim. Ventilation, or artificial respiration, involves forcing air into the victim’s lungs via exhalation of the rescuer into the victim’s mouth and/or nose, or using equipment that can replicate this action.

Previous guidelines indicated that first the airway should be cleared, then artificial respirations performed, followed by chest compressions. This was known as the ABC method – Airway, Breathing, Compressions. In recent years, medical opinion has changed to the CAB method – Compressions, Airway, Breathing. This indicates rescuers should first start chest compressions, followed by airway clearing, and finally artificial respirations. This shift is due to a new conventional wisdom that asserts that chest compressions alone can save lives.


Compression-only CPR relies on chest compressions and involves no manual ventilation or respiration. This method is not generally as reliable as the standard method, but is easier for untrained rescuers to perform. Studies have indicated that, while bystanders in an emergency situation may be hesitant to perform standard CPR on a victim, compression-only CPR is less intimidating. The purpose of encouraging compression-only CPR is to ensure that some action is taken in an emergency situation if the chest compression/artificial respiration method is deemed too daunting or uncomfortable to perform. Rescuers should still aim for at least 100 chest compressions per minute, using the same procedure as with the standard method (two hands for adults, one hand for children, and two fingers for newborns and infants).

Both standard and compression-only CPR should be performed with as much care as possible. Complications can arise if they are carried out improperly. The most common complication is rib fracture resulting from too much pressure being applied during chest compressions. Other risks include bruising of the heart, lacerations of internal organs (from rib or sternum fractures), and abdominal distention (air in the stomach).

While it is widely acknowledged that CPR alone is insufficient to restart the heart or activate the lungs, it is accepted as a method to temporarily maintain an oxygen-rich blood supply until more advanced medical techniques can be employed. This maintenance of oxygenated blood can help avoid or minimize brain damage that would normally accompany lack of proper blood flow. When performed correctly and quickly, CPR can and does save lives. Formal training is encouraged and widely available through local health departments and hospitals.

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