Assessment of breathing during CPR

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation involves a series of steps in order to help out an individual until advanced medical measures can be provided. If this life-saving skill is properly carried out, it can drastically increase the chances of survival by the individual. By enrolling in a CPR class, you will learn how to perform this procedure. Even though this measure is easy to perform, there are certain aspects that are not strictly taken into consideration by many. Always remember that the steps focus on the assessment of the individual’s breathing.

Open the airway

Always make sure that the airway of the unconscious individual is open. Once the individual loses consciousness, the tongue and epiglottis becomes flaccid and can collapse into a position that blocks the air flow. Position the individual carefully on his/her back and tilt the head back.


Position the individual carefully on his/her back and tilt the head back to open the airway.

You can also perform the jaw-thrust maneuver where you have to push the jaw forward using your hands. Just be careful regarding any possible injury to the spine since unnecessary movement can aggravate the injury or even lead to paralysis.

Lean close to the face of the individual

You have to position close to the individual so that the ear is near his/her mouth and you are facing at his/her chest. In doing so, you can listen, feel and observe for breathing. In some cases, simply opening the airway is enough to restore regular respiration.

Perform rescue breathing

You have to deliver two slow rescue breaths if you cannot detect any signs of breathing. If the chest of the individual does not rise during the breaths or do not feel the air being exhaled, there is the possibility of an obstruction in the airway.

Reposition the head of the individual to open up the airway again and check for any foreign object in the mouth or throat. Deliver two slow rescue breaths again until the proper response is observed.

When to perform CPR

You have to perform CPR if you have received training if the rescue breathing performed does not deliver air into the lungs of the individual properly and no indication that the individual breaths on his/her own.

Important considerations to bear in mind

Always remember the ABC in first aid care – airway, breathing and circulation. Ensuring that the airway is open is important to any individual whether they have circulation or not. Of course, the individual must be given rescue breaths. If there is no oxygen delivered to the lungs, the individual might die. This rescue breathing must be performed first in an attempt to correct any circulatory issues.

Make sure that the airway is open during delivery of the rescue breaths. You might need a partner to execute the jaw thrust maneuver while delivering the rescue breaths and observe for the proper movement of the chest and breathing.

Additionally, you should also check for any indications of trauma. In case you suspect a spinal cord or head injury, you can try to carry out the jaw thrust maneuver while the individual is lying on their side.


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