How To Perform CPR On An Adult

by Joseph K. Clark

Many adults have been inspired to learn or re-learn CPR after a devastating incident during the first half of a soccer match in Europe. Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen collapsed and was treated on the pitch before being hospitalized. Denmark’s team doctor, Morten Boesen, later confirmed Eriksen had suffered a cardiac arrest and that “he was gone” before being resurrected. Eriksen, 29, is now stable and awake in the hospital and has sent a message to his teammates.

As many conversations have highlighted in the last few days, the speed of administering CPR made a huge difference. “Life is precious; learn CPR,” one doctor tweeted. “Imagine the consequences of not knowing what to do,” another public member tweeted.

29-year-old Christian Eriksen went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest on the soccer field in front of the world today. His life was saved because he got immediate CPR and defibrillation. This can happen to literally anyone, anytime, anywhere. Life is precious. Learn CPR.

— Sam Ghali, M.D. (@EM_RESUS) June 12, 2021

I’ve done CPR many times. It’s not nice to have to do it, but it does save lives. I’ve also done it on my own son – it’s awful. Imagine the consequences of not knowing what to do. Please share – it could save a life. #CPR #Eriksen

— Dave Harford (@dharford79) June 12, 2021

Many people shared illustrations with information on how to give CPR. If you’re interested in learning how yourself, here’s what you need to know:

How to do CPR on an adult

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It combines chest compressions and rescue breaths to give a person the best chance of survival following a cardiac arrest. It explains St John’s Ambulance, a volunteer-led charitable organization that teaches first aid to the public.


During COVID-19, people are advised to do hands-only CPR. Even in non-pandemic times, you should only do rescue breaths if you’ve been trained and feel confident using your skills. If you’re unsure, it’s best to do hands-only CPR instead.

One of the best ways to learn CPR is by watching a YouTube video of people performing it, but here’s a breakdown to ensure you’re doing it right, whether using only your hands or adding rescue breaths.

Either way, if an adult is unresponsive and not breathing normally, you still need to call 911 for emergency help, but you can start CPR as you wait.

Hands-only CPR

To carry out a chest compression:

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the center of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.
  2. Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands.
  3. Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 2 to 2.5 inches on their chest.
  4. Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its original position.
  5. Repeat these compressions at 100 to 120 times a minute until an ambulance arrives or you become exhausted.

CPR with rescue breaths (only to be done if you’re experienced)

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the center of the person’s chest, then place the other hand on top and press down by 2 to 2.5 inches at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute.
  2. After every 30 chest compressions, give two rescue breaths.
  3. Tilt the person’s head gently and lift the chin with two fingers. Pinch the person’s nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth, and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for about one second. Check that their chest rises. Give two rescue breaths.
  4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

An important note: The techniques for performing CPR are different for children. Head over to the Red Cross to learn more about performing CPR on a young child.

How to learn CPR with a first aid course

If you want to go one step further and cram up on your first aid knowledge in general, you can choose from several. The Red Cross does training across the country. The American Heart Association also offers a tool to help you find courses in your area. In basic first aid training, you will usually be taught about CPR, unresponsive adults, head injuries, seizures, and severe bleeding.

Related Posts