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Lifeline

What is CPR?
CPR is an abbreviation for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a series of maneuvers to bring back to life a person whose heart has stopped beating. It is a combination of closed cardiac massage and mouth–to–mouth artificial respiration.

What is cardiac arrest?
Heart stoppage.

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Can a patient ever be saved once the heart has stopped beating?
Yes. Although the majority of people whose heart has stopped beating do die, it is possible to save a considerable number of them if prompt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is instituted.

How soon after cardiac arrest must Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation be started?
It must be begun immediately. Unless Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is instituted within a few minutes, the patient will succumb.

How can a first–aider know that CPR should be carried out? Is CPR indicated when there is a heartbeat but no obvious breathing?
No. In such cases only mouth–to–mouth artificial respiration is indicated.

Does the heart ever stop beating and respirations continue?
No. Once the heart stops, breathing stops.

Can anyone carry out CPR?
Yes, but it is much better if a trained person does it. Civilians are being trained all over the country in the techniques of this life saving procedure.


What is closed cardiac massage?
The pumping of blood throughout the body by intermittent thrusts upon the breastbone (sternum) overlying the heart. By pushing down every second against the breastbone, it is possible to expel blood from the heart so that it will circulate throughout the body. Closed cardiac massage is an essential part of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.

How hard should one press against the breastbone while performing CPR?
Sufficiently enough to depress the breastbone about one to two inches.

What steps should be carried out after it has been definitely determined that cardiac arrest exists? Is CPR best carried out with two first-aiders?
Definitely, yes! One will concentrate on the cardiac massage, the other on mouth–to–mouth artificial respiration. The cardiac massage should consist of a downward thrust upon the breastbone every second. The person giving artificial respiration should employ it after every five thrusts of the person performing the cardiac massage.

Should the two first–aiders change places when doing CPR?
Yes. Usually the person performing the cardiac massage tires first. He should then exchange duties with the one performing the mouth–to–mouth breathing.

How long should Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation be continued?
At least a half an hour. By this time, some kind of heartbeat should be restored if the first aid is going to be successful.

Should CPR be continued indefinitely if the slightest evidence of an occasional heartbeat is noted?
Yes. Occasional heartbeats often signify that a rhythmic beat can be restored.

Does regular breathing come back before a heart beat is restored?
No. Heart actions come before resumption of breathing.

How long does it take to learn CPR?
The average intelligent individual can learn the technique in several hours of instruction.

Where can one get instruction in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation?
Call your local Red Cross.