How is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) initiated?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Catharine A Bon, MD; Chief Editor: Kirsten A Bechtel, MD  more...
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For an unconscious adult, CPR is initiated using 30 chest compressions. Perform the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver to open the airway and determine if the patient is breathing. Before beginning ventilations, rule out airway obstruction by looking in the patient’s mouth for a foreign body blocking the patient’s airway. CPR in the presence of an airway obstruction results in ineffective ventilation/oxygenation and may lead to worsening hypoxemia.

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