GeneralHow Deep Should Chest Compressions Be?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is important and potentially lifesaving for a person suffering heart complications. Although lifesaving and elementary in the procedure, it can be quite difficult for the untrained to perform CPR on an individual in a high-pressure situation.

People with basic life support course training are best equipped to handle such emergencies, but in case of help is not at hand, it is often better to provide some form of chest compression rather than not doing anything. In this article, we shall attempt to give a simplified explanation of the procedure & provide a basic understanding of the process.

Remember C-A-B

Accredited medical organizations like The American Association of Heart recommend the acronym C-A-B or Compression-Airway-Breathing for people attempting to provide CPR. It is important to remember the procedure in the order as described.

Compression to Restore Blood Flow

This part of first aid is used to revive blood flow to the affected person’s heart by mimicking the heart’s movement. It is the most important step of the CPR procedure.

  • The caregiver must use their hands to push down on the patient’s chest in a regular rhythmic fast manner.
  • Compression should be paced at around 100 to 120 pushes per minute, and each compression should be about 5cm to 6cm deep.
  • If you do not have any training regarding a basic life support course, it is important to continue this compression pattern until the ambulance arrives or until signs of life are seen.
  • For you to find a way to regulate the rate of chest compressions, it’s recommended the tune of the famous pop song “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees as a good auditory template to guide your compression rates. Also, it is very important to allow chest recoil and the chest to return to its natural state before administering the next compression.

Airway-Opening the Airway

You should only attempt this next step if you have some formal training in providing CPR. The next step is to unblock the person’s airway using the head tilt and chin tilt maneuvers. For this, first, palm on the patient’s forehead and second, palm on the patient’s chin and lift gently to open up the airway. In turn, it prepares the person for the next step of the CPR maneuver.

It is important to do this step after approximately every 30 chest compressions.


The final step of the three-part process of administering CPR is the breathing phase. In this step, you must breathe in the other person. Rescue breathing is ideally done mouth to mouth. However, it can also be done mouth to nose only if the mouth cannot be open or is injured.

  • After the head tilt and chin tilt maneuver, once the airway is open, proceed to provide two rescue breaths. The rescue breath should last around a second. After the rescue breath, it is important to check if the chest rises.
  • If you see the chest rise, continue with the next rescue breath. If the chest doesn’t rise, perform the head tilt and chin tilt maneuver again, then provide the second rescue breath.
  • Follow this step again with 30 chest compressions to revive the blood flow. Ideally, this step should be performed after every 30 compression maneuvers.
  • Ideally, 30 Chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths is termed one CPR cycle. Keep performing CPR until you see signs of life or until the ambulance arrives.

Knowing the proper sequence of CPR and having the necessary basic training can mean the difference between life and death. Hence it is very important to follow the procedure very carefully. You can perform CPR on infants and kids, but it is recommended to undergo basic life support training before attempting to perform one on a child.

Due to the life-changing nature of the course and the potential dangers, it is highly recommended for individuals to undergo a basic life support course because it can make a difference in your loved one’s life when it matters. Throughout the globe, there are numerous globally accredited institutes providing basic life support & CPR training. First-time students are encouraged to get certified & existing students can get re-certified. Because when the time comes, be prepared to save a life.

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