What Are the Seven Steps of CPR?

Reviewed on 10/4/2021

The seven steps of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) involve checking the scene and the person, calling 911 for assistance, opening the airway, checking for breathing, chest compressions, delivering rescue breaths, and repeating CPR steps.
The seven steps of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) involve checking the scene and the person, calling 911 for assistance, opening the airway, checking for breathing, chest compressions, delivering rescue breaths, and repeating CPR steps.

CPR stands for CardioPulmonary Resuscitation, an emergency procedure that is a combination of chest compressions and artificial ventilation (breathing) used to save a person’s life when a person’s heart stops beating or breathing ceases. When performed right away, CPR can increase a person’s chances of survival after cardiac arrest.

The American Red Cross guidelines for performing CPR are as follows:

Before Giving CPR

1. Check the scene and the person

  • Make sure the setting is safe
  • Tap the person on the shoulder and shout, “Are you OK?” to make sure the person actually needs help

2. Call 911 for assistance

  • If it's clear help is needed, call 911 (or ask a bystander to call)
    • Send someone to get an AED if one is available 
    • If there is no AED available or a there is no bystander to access it, stay with the victim, call 911, and prepare to give assistance 

3. Open the airway

  • With the person lying on his or her back, tilt the head back slightly to lift the chin

4. Check for breathing

  • Listen carefully for sounds of breathing, for no more than 10 seconds (occasional gasping sounds are not the same as breathing) 
  • If there is no breathing, begin CPR

Red Cross CPR Steps

5. Begin chest compressions

  • Position hands one on top of the other in the middle of the chest
  • Push hard, push fast
    • Use your body weight to help administer compressions at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute

6. Deliver rescue breaths* 

  • With the person's head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the nose shut and place your mouth over the person's mouth to make a complete seal
  • Blow into the person's mouth to make the chest rise
  • Deliver two rescue breaths, then continue compressions
  • Note: If the chest does not rise with the initial rescue breath, re-tilt the head before delivering the second breath. If the chest doesn't rise with the second breath, the person may be choking. After each subsequent set of 30 chest compressions, and before attempting breaths, look for an object and, if seen, remove it.
  • *Note: Rescue breaths are recommended by the American Red Cross. The American Heart Association recommends calling 911 and delivering chest compressions only.

7. Continue CPR steps

  • Continue with cycles of chest compressions and breathing until: 
    • The person exhibits signs of life, such as breathing
    • An AED becomes available, once it is applied continue CPR if patient is still unresponsive
    • EMS or a trained medical responder arrives on scene and takes over
  • Note: End the cycles if the scene becomes unsafe or you are unable to continue performing CPR due to exhaustion

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Reviewed on 10/4/2021
References
https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/cpr-steps

https://cpr.heart.org/

https://cpr.heart.org/en/cpr-courses-and-kits/hands-only-cpr