Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a series of steps to help a person who is not responding and has stopped breathing. CPR helps deliver oxygen rich blood to the body tissue when the body is not able to do this on its own.
CPR is given to a child who is not breathing. Reasons for this may include:
The outcome will depend on the cause and how soon effective CPR was initiated. Many people are unable to regain a normal heartbeat after it has stopped.
It is possible that ribs will fracture or break during chest compressions. Other complications, like a puncture of a lung, are also possible.
People with weakened bones have a higher risk of fractures from CPR. However, there is greater risk of death if CPR is delayed or not done correctly.
When you see a child suddenly collapse, or find a child unconscious on the ground, immediately check to see if he is responsive. Tap the child and ask: “Are you OK?” If the child is unresponsive, follow these steps:
The length of time for CPR depends on the underlying causes and response time of medical help.
The patient is unconscious when CPR is given. The procedure does not hurt. Some children may complain of soreness in the chest after regaining consciousness.
The emergency team will take over care when they arrive.
Children will need to be taken to the hospital for evaluation following CPR.
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
American Heart Association guidelines. 2005 American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) of pediatric and neonatal patients: pediatric basic life support. Pediatrics. 2006;117(5):e989-1004.
American Heart Association. 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science: Part 1 executive summary. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/122/18_suppl_3/S640.full. Published October 2010. Accessed November 16, 2012.
American Heart Association. 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science: Part 13 pediatric basic life support. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/122/18_suppl_3/S862.full.pdf+html. Published October 2010. Accessed November 16, 2012.
American Heart Association. Heartsaver First Aid with CPR and AED. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association; 2006
Bush CM, Jones JS, et al. Pediatric injuries from cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Ann Emerg Med. 1996;28(1):40-44.
Bardy, G.H. A critic's assessment of our approach to cardiac arrest. New Engl J of Med. 2011;364(4):374-375.
Topjian AA, Berg RA, et al.Pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation: advances in science, techniques, and outcomes. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov;122(5):1086-98. Review.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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