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CPR

Definition

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is an emergency lifesaving procedure that is performed when a person's own breathing or heartbeat have stopped, such as in cases of electric shock, heart attack, or drowning. CPR is a critical part of the ABC's of first response:

  • A for airway
  • B for breathing
  • C for circulation

CPR combines rescue breathing and chest compressions. Rescue breathing provides oxygen to the person's lungs. Chest compressions keep oxygen-rich blood circulating until an effective heartbeat and breathing can be restored.

Permanent brain damage or death can occur within minutes if blood flow stops. Therefore, it is critical that blood flow and breathing be continued until trained medical help arrives.

CPR techniques vary slightly depending on the age or size of the patient.

See also:

Alternative Names

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

References

Hirshon JM. Basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation in adults. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 12.


Review Date: 7/8/2009
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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