Chest compressions: What should I do if the chest fails to rise during CPR?

There are cases when CPR is vital but start with chest compressions first.

The traditional steps in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves rescue breathing. Oftentimes, the initial rescue breath during CPR will not allow the chest to rise. The process involves opening the airway and blowing air into the lungs. Even though it sounds simple, opening the airway can be tricky sometimes.

What should I do if the chest does not rise?

Another approach should be done, but only once. Initially, do not attempt to blow into the airway until you have already started pushing on the chest of the individual. There is no need to try rescue breathing at all unless trained to do so. Even if able to perform rescue breathing, it is best to start with chest compressions first.

Chest compressions

Opening the airway is typically performed with the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver.

Opening the airway is typically performed with the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. The objective is to pull the tongue away from the back of the throat and allow the air to pass. Oftentimes, it is difficult to open the airway.

Importance of chest compressions

Whether the second attempt works or not, continue with chest compressions. It is vital to get the blood moving throughout the body. Remember that there might still be enough oxygen in the bloodstream and by pushing on the chest, it allows blood to reach the heart and the brain.

What is required?

It is best to start with chest compressions. If rescue breathing is done, only 2 breaths are needed whether effective or not.

In case the initial one works and the second is unsuccessful, continue with chest compressions. If both fail, continue with the compressions.

Irrespective of what occurs after delivering a second breath or second attempt, continue with chest compressions. After performing 30 compressions, try 2 more breaths and repeat.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on chest compressions is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly perform CPR, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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