Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. When the heart stops beating, blood flow to the body is disrupted, which can lead to brain damage or death within minutes. In such a situation, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can make a critical difference and even save someone’s life. Here’s how to recognize cardiac arrest and perform CPR in an emergency situation.

Recognizing Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest can happen suddenly and without warning, so it’s essential to recognize the signs and symptoms as soon as possible. The most common signs of cardiac arrest include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Absence of breathing or abnormal breathing (gasping, wheezing)
  • No pulse or a weak pulse

If you witness someone experiencing any of these symptoms, call emergency services immediately and start performing CPR.

Performing CPR

CPR is a technique that involves chest compressions and rescue breaths, which help to maintain blood flow to the body’s vital organs until professional medical help arrives.

Here’s how to perform CPR:

  • Check for Responsiveness: Tap the person and shout “Are you okay?” to check for responsiveness. If there is no response, the person is unconscious and requires CPR.
  • Call for Help: Call emergency services and ask for an ambulance.
  • Check for Breathing: Tilt the person’s head back, and check for breathing. Look for chest rise and fall, listen for breathing sounds, and feel for breath on your cheek. If there is no breathing or abnormal breathing, begin CPR immediately.
  • Perform Chest Compressions: Place the person on a firm surface and kneel beside them. Position the heel of one hand on the center of the person’s chest (between the nipples) and the other hand on top. Push down hard and fast (at least 100-120 compressions per minute) with straight arms, using your body weight to deliver the compressions. After 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths.
  • Give Rescue Breaths: Pinch the person’s nostrils shut, and place your mouth over their mouth to make a seal. Give two slow breaths, each lasting about one second, while watching for chest rise. If the chest does not rise, reposition the person’s head and try again.
  • Continue CPR: Repeat cycles of 30 compressions and two breaths until emergency services arrive, or the person shows signs of recovery (such as breathing on their own).


Recognizing the signs of cardiac arrest and performing CPR quickly can be the difference between life and death. With these steps in mind, you can be prepared to help someone in need and potentially save their life.


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