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How Does Chest Compressions Work in Cardiac Arrest

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Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest remains a major public health issue in Australia, with thousands of lives lost every year. Over the past decades, the survival rate of hospital discharge from cardiac arrest only improve a little. Bystander-initiated CPR, particularly chest compressions, is essential to increase the chances of survival.

Chest Compressions CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been around for ages and save countless lives. It even solves the biggest problem that occurs during a cardiac arrest.

Chest compressions are part of the 3 key components of CPR – compressions, airway, and breathing. It is life-saving assistance that aims to increases the likelihood of surviving breathing and cardiac emergencies that occur outside of medical settings.

It is often referred to as ‘compression-only or hands-only CPR which is compressions without rescue breaths. It is a public service initiative that bystanders should call Triple Zero (000) and provide chest compressions upon witnessing a sudden cardiac arrest.

According to data, the survival rate for out-of-cardiac arrest (OHCA) is low. This is mainly due to the delay of cardiopulmonary resuscitation following an attack. It has been proven that victims who quickly receive bystander CPR while waiting for paramedics have a double or even triple chance of surviving.

In the real world, many people are unwilling to do mouth-to-mouth breathing. This may be due to fear of infection, or they are not trained to give rescue breathing.

Chest compressions are here to solve that problem. This CPR component is also easy to learn and remember.

Chest Compressions for Cardiac Arrest

CPR is meant to be given immediately after a cardiac arrest but be careful not to perform it on someone who may not need it. Do these 3 steps before giving Chest Compressions CPR.

  1. Check the surrounding area. Ensure that the scene is safe and suitable for performing CPR. Make an effort to wake the victim by gently tapping their shoulders. Ask in a loud and clear voice if they are OK and observe if there are signs of life.
  2. If the victim is unconscious, call emergency services right away. If there are other bystanders near the scene, ask them to call instead. Every second counts in a cardiac arrest, being quick is important.
  3. Start first aid treatment by doing compressions. Take note of the hand placement, your rhythm/tempo, and other necessary procedures to follow.

If you suspect someone is having a cardiac arrest, suffocation, or another emergency where the victim has no pulse, chest compressions can be performed until paramedics arrive on the scene.

Guide in Giving CPR Chest Compressions

  1. First, kneel behind the victim and place the heel of your one hand on the center of the chest.
  2. Place the heel of the other hand on top of the other and interlock fingers. Keep both of your arms straight with shoulders above your hands.
  3. Perform chest compressions by pushing hard and fast. Do it for at least 2 inches deep.
  4. The CPR compression rates should at least be 100 to 120 pushes per minute. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends doing it to the beat of the famous BeeGees song “Staying Alive.”
  5. Keep doing cycles of chest compressions until you see normal signs of life like breathing or until paramedics arrive on the scene.

For emergencies such as drowning, drug overdose, or those involving young children, follow the conventional way of giving CPR. Do 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. However, remember that chest-compression-only CPR is better than doing nothing.


​Knowing basic first-aid treatment can be the difference between life and death in many emergencies, particularly in cardiac arrest. After all, some cases require a prompt response that cannot wait for an ambulance or a doctor.

Chest compressions only are recommended in cardiac emergencies. But combined CPR (chest compressions and resuscitation) works best in many cases.

To learn conventional CPR, a first aid course is recommended.

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