5 CPR mistakes you must avoid while saving a life


In times when people are consumed by junk food and sedentary lifestyle, heart problems are on the rise. That’s why learning how to perform CPR or Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) correctly, without committing common CPR mistakes, is the need of the hour.

CPR is a first aid technique administered during cardiac arrest or when the heart stops beating. You must know how to perform CPR.

CPR, when given correctly, is said to increase the chances of the patient’s survival by two to three times. If the person in front of you is not breathing or you can’t feel their pulse, start the CPR without wasting any time.

Health Shots reached out to Dr Satish Chaku, Associate Director- Emergency Services, Asian Hospital, to find out what common mistakes must be avoided while giving CPR.

CPR is an important first aid technique
CPR is an important first aid technique. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5 CPR mistakes to avoid

1. Positioning your arms incorrectly

Firstly, you want to make sure that the patient is lying back on a flat surface. Your hands should be one upon another with your fingers interlocked – placed at the center of the chest. Your shoulder should lie directly above your hands.

“While giving compressions, your hands and shoulders must be perpendicular to the patient’s chest. Lock your elbows, keep your arms straight. Otherwise you won’t get the appropriate amount of pressure in the compression.”

2. Lifting up your hands from the chest while giving CPR

Between two consequent compressions, lift your entire body weight off the patient, allowing the patient’s chest to regain its original position.

“But do not lift up your hands from the patient’s chest. You don’t want to bounce on the patient. Measured and regular compressions is the goal here”.

3. Giving compressions too fast or too slow

If you are compressing too fast, the heart doesn’t get enough time to fill up with blood. So you are just pumping an empty heart, which is not useful.

On the reverse spectrum, if compressions are too slow the blood pressure drops down. As a result, tissues and cells don’t get enough oxygen.

“Compression rate should be about 100-120 compressions per minute.”

Also read: Everything you need to about sudden cardiac arrest—including first aid

CPR heart attack
CPR can be given to a person who may have suffered a heart attack or stroke. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Too shallow or too deep compressions

If the compressions are too shallow, the heart can’t pump out sufficient blood. And too deep compressions can cause rib and sternal fractures.

“Effective compressions in adults should be 5-6 cm deep”, informs Dr Chaku.

5. Wrong position of head while giving rescue breaths

The patient’s head should be tilted back with one hand, while the other hand lifts up the chin. This ensures that the airway to the lungs is open. Dr Chaku adds, “If you are doing 30 chest compressions, then give 2 rescue breaths. Count the compressions till 30 out loud and don’t spend more than 10 seconds on rescue breaths.”

If you keep these key points in mind and avoid these CPR mistakes, you might just save someone’s life!



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