Learning the ABCs of CPR

Learning the ABCs of CPR

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, can dramatically improve the survival rate for victims of cardiac arrest. Through a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, this procedure can stabilize the victim until professional medical help reaches the scene. To ensure you receive the optimal training, it’s important to earn your CPR certification. This simple process provides students with the skills, confidence, and knowledge to effectively perform CPR in the event of an emergency. Now that you can earn your CPR certification through 100 percent online classes, it’s never been easier to learn this important skill.

CPR instructors have developed various methods to effectively teach this procedure. Two acronyms, ABC and CAB, can help students easily remember the most important steps of performing CPR. Here, we’re taking a closer look at learning the ABCs of CPR and how these acronyms can help students perform this procedure safely and more effectively.

What is CPR?

CPR is an effective medical procedure that almost anyone can learn. Through a combination of rescue breaths and chest compressions, a trained bystander can effectively stabilize the victim and improve their survival rate while waiting for medical personnel to arrive.

Essentially, CPR works to imitate the functioning of the heart when it stops. Chest compressions work to circulate blood throughout the body, which is essential for delivering oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. Rescue breaths then deliver a quick burst of oxygen directly to the lungs. If one is nearby, a bystander should also use an automated external defibrillator (AED), which can be found in most public places and buildings. These small devices provide an electrical shock to the victim to restart their heart.

What are the ABCs of CPR?

When it comes to medical training, you’ll likely run into a lot of acronyms. These devices are useful in helping students remember complex information, especially when there are a lot of steps involved in a process or procedure. The ABCs (airway, breathing, compressions) is one of the most common acronyms you’ll come across in CPR training and certification courses. Learning the ABCs of CPR is a helpful way for CPR students to remember the important steps involved in this procedure.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps:

A – Airway

Before a bystander begins to perform CPR, it’s critical to first ensure that the victim’s airway is open. Otherwise, rescue breaths won’t do much good. With the victim lying flat on their back, tilt the head back carefully and lift their chin. This is also an opportunity for you to check the airway to see if there is an object lodged there.

B – Breathing

After you’ve opened the airway, you can provide rescue breaths to the victim. With their head tilted back and chin up, pinch their nose shut and place your mouth over theirs to form a seal. Blow into their mouth and watch their chest carefully to see that it’s rising. If it doesn’t you may need to reposition the victim to open the airway. Provide two rescue breaths.

C – Chest Compressions

Chest compressions work to imitate the pulse of the heart and are important to keep blood and nutrients circulating throughout the body. Many advocate that chest compressions are the most important step in performing CPR. When providing chest compressions, press hard and fast and deliver compressions about 2-inches deep into the chest of the victim. Interlace your fingers and place one hand over the other and provide chest compressions at roughly a rate of 100 compressions per minute.

What About C-A-B for CPR Training?

Most students don’t realize this, but CPR is a continually evolving procedure. Years ago, in early attempts at resuscitations, physicians would recommend being dragged from behind a horse or having bellows placed in the mouth of the victim. Luckily, we’ve come a long ways since those methods.

A more recent development in CPR training has been the shift from performing the ABCs of CPR to knowing the steps of CAB of CPR. Essentially, CAB just rearranges the airway, breathing, and chest compressions steps. But why? CPR experts note that chest compressions are the most important step, and thus, should be your focus when performing CPR. Just think: you can hold your breath for a few minutes and you’ll be fine. But when blood is not circulating through your body, this is a much higher risk for the victim. Thus, advocates now say you should begin with chest compressions, then open the airway and give rescue breaths.

Online CPR Certification

As previously noted, CPR is constantly evolving, changing, and improving. The same goes for CPR training and certification. CPR instructors are continually honing the process to better teach their students how to perform CPR. One of the most recent advancements has been the rise in online CPR certification. These 100 percent online CPR classes make learning this procedure more convenient, faster, and often more cost-effective for students. Once you’ve passed the final test you can instantly print off your proof of CPR certification.

Conclusion – Learning the ABCs of CPR

Every year, hundreds of thousands of lives are lost prematurely to cardiac arrest. If more bystanders are trained to properly perform CPR, many of these lives could be saved. Through a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths (or even just chest compressions in the hands-only CPR technique), a bystander can keep oxygen and blood circulated throughout the body—dramatically improving their survival rate.

The best way to learn CPR is by enrolling in a CPR certification course. These classes used advanced methods and techniques to quickly and effectively teach students how to respond in an emergency situation and how to perform CPR. Learning the ABCs and CAB of CPR training are important aspects of any CPR training class. Additionally, as CPR training continues to improve, many students are turning to online CPR courses. These online classes are fast, convenient, and often more cost-effective than traditional in-person CPR classes. If you want to gain a skill that could make your community safer, learn CPR.


Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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