How Does CPR Work and Why It Is Important to Learn How to Perform It?

We’ve all probably seen CPR being performed in a movie or medical drama television show. But do you know how this life-saving procedure actually works? CPR should be learned by everyone—not just medical doctors and nurses. Why is this so important? Because you never know when a cardiac arrest episode will strike. If more bystanders earn their CPR certification, simply enough, lives would be saved.



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Here, we’re taking a closer look at CPR and how this procedure actually works to help victims of cardiac arrest. We walk through the steps of CPR and what impact these steps have on the human body. By better understanding how CPR works, hopefully, more people will gain confidence and decide to pursue their own CPR certification. Together, by receiving CPR training and certification, we can work to make our homes and communities safer.

What is CPR?

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a common medical procedure that can dramatically improve the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims. In fact, CPR can be used to effectively assist in many additional emergency situations. If someone is suffering from smoke inhalation, choking, electrocution, poisoning, or a near-drowning event, CPR may prove beneficial. Whenever the heart stops and the victim is unable to breathe, you should begin CPR immediately.

But what exactly is this process? At its core, CPR is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths. Chest compressions keep blood and vital nutrients circulating throughout the body while the rescue breaths deliver oxygen directly to the victim’s lungs.

How exactly does this all work? Let’s take a closer look.

How Does CPR Work?

CPR combines chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep a victim stable. It’s important to note, however, that CPR is not designed to be a treatment for any type of medical emergency. Rather, CPR is a temporary measure that can keep the victim functional until paramedics arrive on the scene.

So, how does this process work? It lies in the combination of the two main steps: chest compressions and rescue breaths. After the trained bystander has checked for breathing (and found no detectable breath), they begin applying hard and fast chest compressions at a rate of roughly 100 to 120 compressions per minute. These chest compressions essentially imitate the functioning of the heart to circulate blood, oxygen, and vital nutrients throughout the body.

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Every second of every day, your heart is pumping and keeping your vital organs supplied with blood and oxygen. Chest compressions perform this role when the heart stops and is unable to do so. In fact, if the brain is deprived of oxygen for even just a few minutes, permanent brain damage or death can occur.

Following chest compressions, the CPR provider should then shift to giving rescue breaths. With rescue breaths, the bystander should first open the airway by gently lifting the chin and tilting the head back. Then, they should pinch the nose shut and make a complete seal with their mouth over the mouth of the victim. Rescue breaths deliver oxygen-rich air directly to the lungs of the victim. You should give two rescue breaths to the victim before switching back to chest compressions and make sure you keep an eye on their chest. If the victim’s chest doesn’t rise following rescue breaths, the airway may still be blocked.

However, many CPR trainers are making a point that rescue breaths may not always be necessary. A recent development in CPR training has been in the advocacy of hands-only CPR. As the name suggests, this version of CPR skips the rescue breaths and focuses solely on performing chest compressions. Studies suggest that this type of CPR can be just as effective as the traditional combination of rescue breaths and chest compressions. It may even encourage bystanders to act if they’re concerned about giving rescue breaths.

How to Become CPR Certified Online

If you’re looking to learn CPR and earn your official CPR certification, you no longer need to drive out to a crowded rec center after work. Increasingly, the traditional, in-person model of CPR training and certification is becoming a thing of the past as more and more students are discovering the benefits of learning CPR online.

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But why are they shifting to the online model? There are many reasons. Online CPR training is much faster as you can sign up whenever you want and begin learning right away. These online CPR certification courses are also more convenient since you never have to attend an in-person class. Learn on your own schedule from the comfort of your home. This benefit makes online CPR classes ideal for someone working full-time with an already busy schedule. And finally, they can even save you money.

Conclusion – How Does CPR Work?

CPR is a straightforward medical procedure that anyone can learn. Through a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths (or, even in some cases, just chest compressions with hands-only CPR), a trained bystander can help to keep a cardiac arrest victim stable until medical personnel arrive.

CPR works by providing chest compressions and rescue breaths to the victim of cardiac arrest. Chest compressions imitate the pumping of the heart to keep blood, oxygen, and nutrients circulating throughout the body to all the vital organs. Rescue breaths, then, provide oxygen directly to the lungs of the victim. These two steps in tandem can keep the victim stable and dramatically improve their survival rate.

Training more bystanders in CPR is critical to saving lives. Luckily, now that you can earn your CPR certification through 100 percent online classes, it’s never been easier or more convenient to learn this life-saving skill. Compared to in-person CPR classes, online CPR certification is faster, more convenient, and often more cost-effective. Not to mention the added benefit of being able to learn CPR from the comfort of your own home. Learn an important medical skill while comfy at home—what could be better? CPR training and certification will give you the confidence, skills, and knowledge to potentially save a life.

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