Adult CPR

American Heart Association's guidelines dictate that Adult CPR is performed on any person over the age of 8. The procedure outlined in the following lessons is similar to Children CPR and Infant CPR, although some critical differences apply.

Before you start any rescue efforts, you must remember to check the victim for responsiveness.

If you suspect that the victim has sustained spinal or neck injury, do not move or shake him. Otherwise, shake the victim gently and shout "Are you okay?" to see if there is any response. If the victim is someone you know, call out his name as you shake him.

If there is no response, immediately dial 9-1-1 and check the airway

                  § AIRWAY

"A"is for AIRWAY If the victim is unconscious and is unresponsive, you need to make sure that his airway is clear of any obstructions.
The breaths may be faint and shallow - look, listen and feel for any signs of breathing. If you determine that the victim is not breathing, then something may be blocking his air passage. The tongue is the most common airway obstruction in an unconscious person.

 With the victim lying flat on his back, place your hand on his forehead and your other hand under the tip of the chin (Figure 1). Gently tilt the victim's head backward. In this position the weight of the tongue will force it to shift away from the back of the throat, opening the airway (Figure 2).

If the person is still not breathing on his own after the airway has been cleared, you will have to assist him breathing

                 § Breathing

"B" is for BREATHING. With the victim's airway clear of any obstructions, gently support his chin so as to keep it lifted up and the head tilted back. Pinch his nose with your fingertips to prevent air from escaping once you begin to ventilate and place your mouth over the victim's, creating a tight seal.

As you assist the person in breathing, keep an eye on his chest. Try not to over-inflate the victim's lungs as this may force air into the stomach, causing him to vomit. If this happens, turn the person's head to the side and sweep any obstructions out of the mouth before proceeding.

Give two full breaths. Between each breath allow the victim's lungs to relax - place your ear near his mouth and listen for air to escape and watch the chest fall as the victim exhales.

If the victim remains unresponsive (no breathing, coughing or moving), check his circulation

                  § Circulation

"C" is for CIRCULATION. In order to determine if the victim's heart is beating, place two fingertips on his carotid artery, located in the depression between the windpipe and the neck muscles (Figure 1), and apply slight pressure for several seconds.

If there is no pulse then the victim's heart is not beating, and you will have to perform chest compression

                  § Compression

When performing chest compressions, proper hand placement is very important. To locate the correct hand position place two fingers at the sternum (the spot where the lower ribs meet) then put the heel of your other hand next to your fingers

Place one hand on top of the other and interlace the fingers (Figure 2). Lock your elbows and using your body's weight, compress the victim’s chest. The depth of compressions should be approximately 1½ to 2 inches - remember: 2 hands, 2 inches. If you feel or hear slight cracking sound, you may be pressing too hard. Do not become alarmed and do not stop your rescue efforts!

Damaged cartilage or cracked ribs are far less serious then a lost life. Simply apply less pressure as you continue compressions.

If there is no pulse, continue performing 15 compressions/2 breaths, checking for pulse after every 4 cycles until help arrives.

Count aloud as you compress 15 times at the rate of about 3 compressions for every 2 seconds. Finish the cycle by giving the victim 2 breaths. This process should be performed four times - 15 compressions and 2 breaths - after which remember to check the victim's carotid artery for pulse and any signs of consciousness.