CPR Best Practices: Avoiding Common Mistakes

Performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) correctly is crucial for improving the chances of survival in cardiac arrest situations. Here are some best practices to help you avoid common mistakes when administering CPR:

1. Check for Responsiveness:

Mistake: Skipping the step of checking for responsiveness before initiating CPR.

Best Practice: Always start by checking if the victim is responsive. Gently tap or shake the person and shout, "Are you okay?" If there is no response, proceed to CPR.

2. Ensure Proper Chest Compression Depth:

Mistake: Not compressing the chest deep enough during CPR.

Best Practice: Push hard and fast in the center of the chest. For adults, aim for a compression depth of at least 2 inches (5 centimeters). For children and infants, compress to one-third the depth of the chest, or approximately 1.5 inches (4 centimeters).

3. Maintain Adequate Compression Rate:

Mistake: Compressing the chest too slowly during CPR.

Best Practice: Aim for a compression rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. Use the beat of the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees as a reference for the correct rhythm.

4. Allow Full Chest Recoil:

Mistake: Not allowing the chest to fully recoil between compressions.

Best Practice: After each compression, release pressure completely to allow the chest to return to its natural position. Inadequate chest recoil can reduce the effectiveness of CPR.

5. Minimize Interruptions:

Mistake: Allowing unnecessary interruptions during CPR.

Best Practice: Minimize interruptions in chest compressions. Only pause CPR for essential actions, such as defibrillation with an AED or switching with another trained responder. Quick transitions and minimal interruptions are critical for maintaining blood flow.

6. Use AED When Available:

Mistake: Not utilizing an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) when one is available.

Best Practice: If an AED is nearby, use it as soon as possible. These devices are designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver shocks if needed. Continue CPR in conjunction with AED use until professional help arrives or the victim shows signs of recovery.

7. Maintain Proper Hand Position:

Mistake: Placing hands incorrectly on the chest during compressions.

Best Practice: Position your hands on the lower half of the victim's breastbone (sternum). Use the heel of one hand to compress the chest, and place the other hand on top with fingers interlocked. Keep your elbows straight and shoulders directly over your hands.

8. Coordinate with Other Responders:

Mistake: Failing to coordinate with other trained responders when performing CPR as a team.

Best Practice: If multiple trained responders are present, designate roles and work together efficiently. One person can perform chest compressions while another gives rescue breaths, and others can assist with tasks like calling 911, retrieving an AED, or providing relief to the primary responder.

9. Provide Adequate Rescue Breaths:

Mistake: Not delivering effective rescue breaths during CPR.

Best Practice: For victims who do not have a pulse and are not breathing normally, give rescue breaths in addition to chest compressions. Ensure that each breath makes the chest rise visibly. If you're uncomfortable with rescue breaths or unable to provide them, focus on high-quality chest compressions.

10. Continue CPR Until Professional Help Arrives:

Mistake: Stopping CPR prematurely.

Best Practice: Continue CPR until professional medical help arrives, the victim shows signs of recovery, or you are too exhausted to continue. Consistent, high-quality CPR is crucial for sustaining life until advanced medical assistance is available.

By following these best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you can increase the effectiveness of your CPR efforts and potentially save lives in emergency situations. Remember that CPR training and practice are essential for maintaining proficiency in this life-saving skill.

 CPR + First Aid Certification

Back to blog