A person may collapse following injury or sudden illness and sometimes may need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

While some patients may be unresponsive and breathing normally, and simply need protection to avoid further harm, others will need urgent cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to maintain life.

CPR is a manual method of pumping blood around a person’s body when they have suffered from a cardiac arrest – which simply means the heart has stopped functioning. CPR is not designed to restart the heart but rather to keep blood pumping so that heart and brain cells do not die due to lack of oxygen.

CPR is required when the patient is unresponsive and not breathing normally.

CPR is not difficult and is vital for anyone who is in cardiac arrest if they are to have any chance of survival.

All collapsed patients should be carefully assessed to decide what emergency care is necessary. The ‘DRSABCD’ of resuscitation is the method used for the assessment:

D      Dangers

  • check for any danger to you, the patient, orbystanders and make the area safe.

R      Response

  • check for response by asking a simple question and grasp/squeeze the shoulders.

S      Send for help

  • call for an ambulance or send someone else to call.

A      Airway

  • open the airway by tilting the head back and lifting the chin.

B      Breathing

  • check for normal breathing.

C      CPR

  • perform chest compressions and breaths.

D       Defib

  • Apply an AED (Automated Electronic Defibrillator) if available.


Chest compressions are the most important part of CPR – if for any reason you cannot give breaths to a patient, you should still perform chest compressions.

 Once CPR is started, continue until the ambulance arrives and the paramedics advise you what to do.


Key points to remember:

  • Call 111 for an ambulance as soon as possible.
  • Push hard and fast on the chest.
  • Chest compressions are the most important part of CPR.


Continue CPR until:

  • The patient recovers.
  • The ambulance officers take over.
  • A medical professional advises you to stop.
  • You are unable to continue, usually due to exhaustion


There are three types of resuscitation:

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