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The purpose of CPR is to temporarily provide effective oxygenation of vital organs, especially the brain and heart, through artificial circulation of oxygenated blood until the restoration of normal cardiac and respiratory activity occurs. The intended effect is to stop the degenerative processes of ischemia and anoxia caused by inadequate circulation and inadequate oxygenation.1 Immediate high-quality CPR is crucial for optimal patient outcome.2 Furthermore, even after defibrillation, most victims demonstrate asystole or pulseless electrical activity for several minutes, and high-quality CPR immediately following defibrillation can convert nonperfusing rhythms to perfusing rhythms.2 The time sensitivity of CPR in sudden cardiac death is emphasized in the American Heart Association (AHA) “Chain of Survival” (Table 13-1).

Table 13-1 American Heart Association Chain of Survival

This chapter reviews basic CPR for adults (≥8 years old), including the approach to an unresponsive patient; basic airway opening procedures, including initial management of an obstructed airway; and the physiology and mechanics of closed chest compression techniques. This chapter is specifically directed toward health care providers.Table 13-2outlines the sequence of steps to be taken when someone is found unresponsive.

Table 13-2 Systematic Approach to CPR

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