CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
When a person’s heart stops, rescuers use CPR to manually pump blood through the body and make sure the brain and vital organs stay oxygenated. It’s a way to keep cardiac arrest victims alive in the precious minutes before rescuers arrive.
What is CPR and what does it do?
CPR is a combination of rescue breathing and compressions. When a rescuer breathes into a victim’s mouth, it fills their lungs with air—and delivers oxygen to their lungs. Then the chest compressions pump the blood through the body—as the heart would if it were working.
Without CPR, if oxygenated blood stops flowing to the brain and vital organs, the victim could die within minutes. And even if the heart is restarted, the brain could be permanently damaged if it’s been cut off from oxygen too long.
While imperfect, CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing and buys time for the victim.