CPR Steps: The Change From A-B-C to C-A-B

Updated: Jan 31, 2019


The old AHA CPR Guidelines stated that rescue breaths should be given before chest compressions, however, studies showed that rescuers hesitated to perform rescue breaths, thus lessening the percentage of people actually performing the full cycle of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Giving chest compressions to the patient is what’s truly essential to get the blood flowing again for patients suffering cardiac arrest.

To avoid hesitation and provide the best support for patients, the American Heart Association updated the steps from A-B-C to C-A-B where chest compressions come first, followed by airway and breathing. This builds for a higher success rate than the previous guidelines.

When performing rescue breaths to patients, the following steps must be considered:

First step is to pinch their nose and keep the airway open by tilting the head and lifting the patient’s chin.

Inhale deeply and the rescuers should seal the patient’s mouth with theirs after proceeding in performing rescue breaths. In this case, CPR barrier masks are highly recommended.

The execution of rescue breath would be deemed effective if the chest is rising and falling with every breath that the patient receives because the purpose of performing this is to manually add air to the patient’s body.

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