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How do I give chest compressions during CPR on an adult?

1: Give compressions by pushing the sternum down at least 2 inches.
 
  • The downward and upward movement should be smooth, not jerky. Push straight down with the weight of your upper body, not with your arm muscles. This way, the weight of your upper body will create the force needed to compress the chest. 
  • Do not rock back and forth. Rocking results in less-effective compressions and wastes much-needed energy. If your arms and shoulders tire quickly, you are not using the correct body position. 

2: After each compression, release the pressure on the chest without removing your hands or changing hand position.
 
  • Allow the chest to return to its normal position before starting the next compression. Maintain a steady down-and-up rhythm and do not pause between compressions. Spend half of the time pushing down and half of the time coming up. 
  • When you press down, the walls of the heart squeeze together, forcing the blood to empty out of the heart. 
    [media id="PRD__4d8a2c521839a5_18177096" title="Chest compression pump heart"]
  • When you come up, you should release all pressure on the chest, but do not take hands off the chest. This allows the heart’s chambers to fill with blood between compressions. 
American Red Cross, heel of hand  on sternum, over heart, hand over hand, interlaced fingers, compress up, pump heart

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.