Home » Courses » 5-Minute Courses » Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Overview

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Overview

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the steps and actions needed to administer CPR correctly.
  • Identify the purpose of an AED.

Available in English, Spanish

5 Minutes

This lesson provides an overview on how to respond to a cardiac, respiratory emergency and use an AED until professional medical help arrives. This program does not qualify for first aid or CPR certification.

The human brain can only survive a 4-6 minute period without oxygen; after 6 minutes irreversible brain damage or death is certain.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), better known as CPR, is a technique used to slow the process of brain death by restarting the heart and getting a person breathing again. CPR can provide oxygen to the brain and other vital organs of a person who, by every indication, is dead. Used early and correctly, the technique can buy time for the victim until medical attention can be given. According to the American Heart Association, about 92% of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.

Cardiac arrest happens when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. This event is triggered by an electrical irregularity in the heart that causes an arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat or interruption of the heart’s normal rhythm, where the organ’s pumping action is disrupted or shut down completely. When the heart shuts down, blood does not reach other vital organs, resulting in failure. About 10,000 incidents of cardiac arrest occur at work each year.

Heart attack is a common cause of cardiac arrest. A “heart attack” (myocardial infarction) is the death of heart muscle caused by sudden blockage by plaque or a blood clot of the coronary artery supplying the heart with oxygenated blood from the lungs. The majority of heart attack victims survive the first attack. Treatment for heart attack includes angioplasty and drugs that destroy the plaque or blood clot.