How to Perform CPR: Mouth-to-Mouth

Performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation


When the AHA revised its CPR guidelines in 2010, it announced that chest compressions should be performed first before opening the person’s airway. The old model was ABC (Airway, Breathing, Compressions). This was replaced by CAB (Compressions, Airway, Breathing).

In the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, there’s still oxygen in the person’s lungs and bloodstream. Starting chest compressions first on someone who’s unresponsive or not breathing normally can help send this critical oxygen to the brain and heart without any delay.

If you’re trained in CPR and come across someone who’s unresponsive or having difficulty breathing, follow the steps for hands-only CPR for 30 chest compressions.

Then perform the following actions:


1. Open the airway


2. Give rescue breaths



Rescue breaths are appropriate for anyone age 1 and older. With the airway open, pinch the nostrils shut, and cover the person’s mouth with a CPR face mask to make a seal. For infants, cover both mouth and nose with the mask. If a mask isn’t available, cover the person’s mouth with yours.

Give two rescue breaths, each lasting about 1 second.

Watch for their chest to rise with each breath. If it doesn’t, reposition the face mask and try again.


3. Alternate rescue breathing with chest compressions


Continue alternating 30 compressions with two rescue breaths until the person begins to breathe or until medical help arrives.

If the person begins to breathe, have him or her lie on their side quietly until medical assistance is on the scene.


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